|astronautix.com||Apollo Drop Test failure 84-1|
A parachute test (Apollo Drop Test 84-1) failed at EI Centro, Calif. The parachute test vehicle (PTV) was dropped from a C-133A aircraft at an altitude of 9,144 meters to test a new 5-meter drogue chute and to investigate late deployment of one of the three main chutes.
Launch and drogue chute deployment occurred as planned, but about 1.5 seconds later both drogue chutes prematurely disconnected from the PTV. A backup emergency drogue chute installed in the test vehicle and designed to be deployed by ground command in the event of drogue chute failure also failed to operate. The PTV fell for about 43 seconds before the main chutes were deployed. Dynamic pressure at the time of chute deployment was estimated at about 1.2 newtons per square centimeter (1.7 pounds per square inch). All parachutes failed at or shortly after main parachute line stretch. The PTV struck the ground in the drop zone and was buried about 1.5 meters. An accident investigation board was formed at El Centro to survey mechanical components and structures, fabric components, and electrical and sequential systems. R. B. West, Earth Landing System Subsystem Manager, represented NASA in the investigation. It was determined that two primary failures had occurred:
On November 3, a preliminary analysis of the drop test failure was made at Downey Calif., with representatives of NASA, North American Rockwell, and Northrop participating. The failure of the drogue, being tested for the first time, was determined to be a result of the failure of the reefing ring attachment to the canopy skirt. The reason the ring attachment failed seemed to be lack of a good preflight load analysis and an error in the assumption used to determine the load capacity of the attachment. The failure of the deployment of the emergency system was still being investigated. References: 16 .