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The Apollo Program and the Apollo 1 fire led to several lessons that NASA should never forget.

Nicole Mann, Glynn Lunney, Walter Cunningham, Gary Johnson and Frank Borman engaged in a panel discussion of Apollo 1 January 24, 2017, at Johnson Space Center in Houston. The panel discussion does an excellent job of pointing out important knowledge that came from the Apollo Program as well as the Apollo 1 fire. Please watch the entire video to get the full content-rich discussion.

Some video key learning points:

    1. 1.

      Be open-minded to re-reviewing issues where you think you have the answer. Certain dangerous conditions with the high-pressure 100 percent oxygen crew module were left in place because they had been done that same way on past programs, including Mercury and Gemini. They should have been examined more closely, and questions should always be asked.

    2. 2.

      Share findings from failures and make sure to look at past failures and successes for key lessons to help you succeed in your current program.

    3. 3.

      Have the safety organization report directly to key program decision-makers—not through the program office.


Apollo Program learning points:

    1. 1.

      Set time or schedule goals to keep a project moving.

    2. 2.

      Contractor and NASA collaboration after the Apollo accident improved greatly. The enhanced relationship improved team dynamics and as a result, systems hazards were better mitigated which resulted in safer outcomes.

    3. 3.

      Find the right attitude to push to new discoveries and the next frontier. Apollo was racing the Russians to the moon. A similar attitude helps push to new heights, such as human travel to Mars.

    4. 4.

      Make program decisions at the lowest level where the information exists. Apollo was successful with key decision makers being at the center level.


Related Resources:

This Month in NASA History: Tragedy Strikes the Apollo Program

Read an excerpt from Chariots of Apollo about the fire

Apollo I History

Report of Apollo 204 Review Board

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