NASA Accidents Quiz

By: Staff

What weather event affected Apollo 12 during a 1969 launch?

Less than a minute after takeoff, two lightning strikes damaged onboard components.

In 1991, what happened to astronaut Jay Apt as he performed a spacewalk?

He was lucky that the puncture was tiny, otherwise his life could have been in danger.

Mission STS-51-L refers to which mission?

The ill-fated mission is one of NASA's most public tragedies.

In what year did the Apollo 1 tragedy occur?

As it stood on the launch pad, the craft caught fire and killed all three crew members.

What started the Apollo 1 fire?

In the pure oxygen environment, a spark quickly led to catastrophe.

What was the likely cause of death for the Apollo 1 crew?

With their space suits damaged, they were unable to survive the toxic fumes in the cabin.

In which year did astronauts develop immediate pneumonia after being exposed to toxic gas during an Apollo Soyuz test project?

Oxygen masks saved their lives, but they were all sickened by exposure to nitrogen tetroxide gas.

How did the first black astronaut perish?

He ejected from his crashing jet, but the parachute failed to open.

In 1993, which space shuttle experienced an accidental explosion while in orbit?

The explosive devices were intended to release a satellite, but only one set was meant to go off; instead, the backups exploded, too.

In 1971, how many of Apollo 15's landing parachutes failed?

If a second had failed, the craft might well have been destroyed on impact.

In 1999, an electrical short affected which component on the space shuttle Columbia?

Backup controllers immediately engaged, a perfect example of why NASA uses lots of redundancy in its systems.

How many astronauts died when the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986?

This included a school teacher (Christa McAuliffe) who was selected especially for the mission.

True or false: Some members of the Challenger crew were still alive when the craft struck Earth.

Evidence shows that they were alive and perhaps conscious as Challenger plunged.

What caused the Challenger accident?

O-ring failure led to a disaster seen live on televisions around the world.

In 1966, where did Elliot See and Charles Bassett crash during a NASA training flight?

Foul weather caused them to crash right into a nearby aircraft manufacturing facility.

Which vehicle spun out of control due to a thruster failure?

But Neil Armstrong, ever the hero, managed to regain control before disaster struck.

Laurel B. Clark was aboard which spacecraft when it failed?

She was one of seven people to perish on the ill-fated mission.

Other than the United States, what other nationality was represented during the last mission of space shuttle Columbia?

Ilan Ramon was teamed with the six Americans who died during the Columbia disaster.

The largest ground search in history was conducted in order to find debris from which spacecraft?

Volunteers from all over the country arrived to help NASA recover its fallen shuttle.

What year was the space shuttle Columbia destroyed?

The shuttle was returning from a successful mission when it was destroyed in 2003.

Where did most of the debris from Columbia land?

Debris from the craft was found in more than 2,000 different locations.

What caused the Columbia to break up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere?

The damage occurred during takeoff; the problem was one already recognized by engineers.

During the 1970 Apollo 13 mission, what happened to the engine during launch?

This was just the beginning of a troubling series of events on the Apollo 13 mission.

In what year was a 4-foot (1-meter) piece of space shuttle Columbia found in a Texas lake?

Engineers have yet to even identify tens of thousands of other pieces already in their possession.

In 1961, what happened to the Liberty Bell 7 capsule as it landed?

The hatch let in ocean water, and astronaut Gus Grissom barely escaped drowning.

What equipment problem ended Apollo 13's chances of reaching the moon (and nearly killed the crew)?

Although the mission technically failed, it became a testament to the ingenuity and resolve of astronauts and their ground support systems.

True or false: Space shuttle Columbia's crew was conscious as it plummeted toward Earth.

Fortunately, cabin depressurization meant they were not awake to witness their fall towards the ground.

In 1983, how many people were hurt when hydrazine leaked and caused a fire during the last minutes of space shuttle Columbia's mission?

Nobody was hurt, but the damage occurred during the shuttle's landing approach and could have caused a catastrophe.

During the 1969 Apollo 12 mission, which object slammed into astronaut Alan Bean, giving him a concussion?

This accident happened during splashdown, meaning Bean had immediate access to medical care.

Why did Theodore Freeman die after ejecting from his jet during a 1964 training routine?

The crash happened because a goose was sucked into the engine, causing both engines to fail.

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About This Quiz

Spaceflight is a risky endeavor for both man and machine. How much do you know about these NASA mishaps?

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