Apollo 13 Explosion


The liquid nitrogen onboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft was stirred by rotating paddles. The paddles were bench-tested before installation, but were connected to the wrong power supply.

On April 11th, 1970 the decision was made on the ground to stir the tank before the crew went to sleep. The paddles were turned on, the insulation burnt off the electrical supply and sparks occurred. The resulting explosion of oxygen cylinders blew out one side of the service module.

Fix?

If different plugs were used for different power supplies, incorrect connection would be more difficult, an example of simplification during installation.

Similar?

The Phillips 66 polyethylene explosion was also caused by an incorrect connection.