Thu, Aug 14, 2003
Whitney Space Propulsion has named an incident review team to
investigate the explosion (aftermath captured by ANN Reader
Torea Rodriguez) that gutted and skinned a
propellant-mixing building August 7 in San Jose (CA).
Former ATK President Paul Ross will head the dozen-member team,
which consists of independent industry experts and company
All propellant-mixing functions on the site have been
halted pending the results of the investigation. The specific
impacts on production schedules from the stand down will depend on
several factors, including the length of the investigation,
findings from the review team and the stage of production.
"We are working directly with our customers for each
of our programs to ensure that they know if there will be any
impact to their program," P&W Space Propulsion and Russian
Operations President Larry Knauer said. "Once we have the final
report from the review team and implemented any needed
modifications, we will resume propellant mixing immediately."
The blast, though of prodigious proportion, did not cause
outside damage. Residents in the remote area, as far as five miles
away, reported they felt their houses shake; but no damage was
done, and no one was hurt, except for one P&W employee who
reported some hearing loss. He was in a building a quarter-mile
away when the blast went off. While one of the buildings used to
mix propellant was essentially destroyed, other mixing buildings
and casting buildings were not impacted. Additionally, a 600-gallon
propellant mixer, similar to the one involved in last week's
incident, was already being overhauled and prepared for operation.
That process is being expedited and is a high priority.
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