Encyclopedia Astronautica
1966.03.07 - Stress corrosion of Apollo titanium tanks problem identified

Apollo Program Director Samuel C. Phillips, in a memo to the Director, Office of Advanced Research and Technology, NASA Hq., pointed out that in July 1965 the Apollo program encountered stress corrosion of titanium tanks from nitrogen tetroxide propellant.

Through his auspices Langley Research Center initiated a crash effort that had been a key factor in solving the problem. Phillips said that Langley's effort had been vigorous, thorough, and of the highest professional calibre. An excellent team relationship had been maintained with MSC, MSFC, KSC, vehicle contractors, and tank subcontractors and LaRC personnel had given dedicated and outstanding support. He cited that

- within nine days from go-ahead a test facility was constructed, equipped, and in operation;

- within one hour after the request from MSC, coupon tests were under way in support of the Gemini VII flight;

- glass bead peening was demonstrated as a solution and many tanks were peened on a crash schedule for flight and test use; and

- coupon tests in direct support of AS-201 were instrumental in providing confidence for proceeding with that flight.

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