MR. KEHRLI: Gentlemen, my name is Randy Kehrli. I'm one of the staff investigators assisting
the Commission. You all, I believe, have been interviewed by Commission panels or else by Commission staff investigators.
I would like to specifically refer you to a series of memoranda that were written in 1978 and 1979. They are included in this red book that is in front of you as tabs 4, 5 and 6 of the O-ring history. I believe you have all been asked about them in previous interviews. They're often referred to as the Miller to Eudy memos. It's my understanding they were actually written by Mr. Ray. [Ref. 5/2-21]
Just to summarize them-we won't go through them, but the first memo is dated January 9, 1978. It is tab number 4. That is a memo from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy at Marshall. It's my understanding it was written by Mr. Ray.
That memo raises some concerns in the second page, paragraph (b), about minimum O-ring compression. Joint rotation is mentioned as well as various shimming or thickness of shims used in an attempt to increase the squeeze on the O-ring field joint design.
Additionally, following that memo in the same tab is the document entitled "SRM Clevis Joint Leakage Study," dated October 21, 1977, written by Mr. Leon Ray, which concerns-which identifies the best
option for a long-term fix to the problems raised in these memos as option number four, to redesign tang and reduce tolerance on the clevis. [Ref. 5/2-22]
The next memo, which is tab number 5, dated January 19, 1979, again is a memo from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy, signed by Mr. Miller with a copy to Mr. Hardy, I believe again written by Mr. Ray, which states that the Thiokol position regarding design adequacy of the clevis joint is completely unacceptable for a couple of reasons, among them the large surface gap created by tang and clevis relative to surface movement, and then secondly the secondary O-ring seal becomes completely disengaged as a result of this relative moment. [Ref. 5/2-23]
The last memo, tab number six dated February 6, 1979, is a memo directly from Mr. Ray to distribution describing a visit to Precision Rubber Products Corporation and Parker Seal Company, wherein the O-ring design and the function of the O-ring is discussed. [Ref. 5/2-24]
I believe what the Commission is interested in-and they will have some specific questions but if you could comment on the genesis of these memos, why they were written and what the thinking was at this time at Marshall with regard to the O-ring design.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: And, I guess, how they were
resolved after they were discussed.
Now, Mr. Ray wrote these memos?
 MR. RAY: That is correct.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Could you start, and would you want to answer the question about why they were written and what was done about them?
MR. RAY: The reason they were written was as a result of test data that we had, and I have to go back to, I guess, a little bit further back in time than these memos. When the joint was first designed, the analysis produced by Thiokol says the joint would close, the extrusion gap would actually close.
We had quite a debate about that until we did a test on the first couple of segments that we received from the manufacturer, which in fact showed that the joint did open. Later on we did some tests with the structural test article, and this is mentioned in the memo as STA-1.
At that time we really nailed it down. We got some very accurate numbers on joint rotation, and we knew for a fact that during these tests that, just what the memo says, the joint rotated. The primary O-ring was extruded up into the joint. The secondary O-ring did in fact detach from the seat.
Now, the proof of this is that we, in addition
to measuring the relative movement between the two parts, the two mating parts, we also screwed a pressure transducer into the port so that we were able to judge the performance of the secondary seal as well.
The test data showed that under a normal situation you get negative pressure, the cavity between the two O-rings, when the joint rotates. The reason for this is that while the O-ring is being extruded up into the joint and it should close the volume up and cause the pressure to rise, that is what you would normally think. But the fact that the joint opens up so much, it increases the volume. The ratio then goes the other way, and it becomes unbalanced. The pressure in the joint was negative.
Now, you would expect this to happen while the case is pressurized. What, in fact, happened during these tests is it did go negative but then when we got up on the pressure curve about 700 or 800 psi, the transducer showed-went back to ambient pressure like .12 or .24 psi, whatever the calibration was at that time, which was proof that the joint vented the atmosphere. That tells you the secondary seal is completely off the seat.
We did one other test in the static fire vehicle, which I can't recall which one, which didn't
show this quite as clear but it was a very suspicious nature when the joint went negative. It's a little bit different. You've got a dynamic situation here where we change pressures during the static firing. The pressure goes up very quickly, flattens out for about 40 seconds, goes down into a saddle and then back up again, so you have fluctuation in the pressure in the joint.
But when we got up to the 700 or 800 psi region, we had a flat spot there very quickly or we were having a transient in the pressure, so it swept on by us. It was a suspicious nature. We had sort of a gentleman's running battle argument, if you want to call it, our people and Thiokol, over the years about this situation.
Our technical folks maintained the situation mentioned in the letter here did in fact happen. The Thiokol folks were saying a much lower number. It probably was not happening. We were successful after a time to convince them. I can't recall the days-I've been in Florida for almost three months now, and I haven't had a chance-I have not had access to my files, and so I can't recall the dates, but we were successful in getting the FMEA and the CIL, which are basically the Failure Mode Effects Analysis documents that state the reliability of the joint.
We were, in fact, successful in getting this change to say that there were certain conditions that the secondary seal was ineffective.
DR. WALKER: When did that occur, sir?
MR. RAY: Sir?
DR. WALKER: When did that occur?
MR. RAY: I can't recall. I don't have-my records are one place and I'm in another. I haven't been back for three months, and I just haven't had time to look.
DR. COVERT: I think the record should show that Mr. Ray has been down in Florida looking at bits and pieces and hunting for them in the bottom of the ocean for about 90 days now.
DR. KEEL: Are you referring to the change in criticality from 1R to 1?
MR. RAY: Yes, sir.
DR. KEEL: That was December 17th, 1982.
GENERAL KUTYNA: Mr. Ray, those tests showed that you could have a shortfall in the ability to seal regardless of temperature?
MR. RAY: Yes, sir.
GENERAL KUTYNA: Because of rotation of the joint?
MR. RAY: Yes, sir. Rotation has nothing to
do with temperature.
In regard to the letter, the rather long memo there about the seal, the quality of the O-ring, that was all taken care of. We made a trip to Parker, and we went through all the defects that are mentioned in that memo and were successful in coming up with a good product. As a matter of fact, somewhere in the records there's a letter written that states that fact that we were real proud of the folks that bid that work, and they got us a good quality O-ring at no additional cost.
The letter also refers to shimming of the joint. This letter specifically refers to shimming, in this case, of the STA-1, the static test article. There was a proposal to put, I believe, 15 to 20 thousandths shims in the joint.
If you look at the joint clearances, you will see that potential gap there that could exist could range from 30 to 65 thousandths, so that tells you in the worst case you need to put a rather thick joint in there or shim in the joint like 50 thousandths, which is a reasonable thickness, you could probably get into the joint.
We recommended that we shim up the maximum. As a matter of fact, we came up with three different shim sizes that would be required to put into the
inventory to shim up, to come up with a range that is recommended by everybody is 15 to 25 percent compression.
Now, this only refers to the initial compression. We have no data that says that shimming will in any way diminish the change in the gap because of rotation. We have no data one way or the other but it is a fact that it is highly desirable to have high initial compression. You need that because of defects in the sealing, potential defects in the sealing surfaces and the O-ring from contamination and so forth.
That was our point in that letter. We would like to have shimmed up the maximum under all circumstances and particularly here for the STA-1. We were unsuccessful in getting our way on this, and I can't tell you who made the decision. I don't know, but I think I can enlighten you on some of the discussions taking place.
 The contractor's recommendation was not to do it, to go with a one-size standard shim 35 thousandths thick. They decided the reason is logistics. You have to stock a number of different sizes. It would be a logistics problem, and so I can't remember who made the decision at Marshall. I just have a blank on that.
DR. KEEL: Could I just ask a followup question? Your position according to the memo, Mr. Ray,
back at least in January 1979, as you have already indicated based upon these static article test as well as the hydroburst test back in 1977 was again, to read from the memo, "that the Thiokol position regarding design adequacy of the clevis joint to be completely unacceptable."
You mentioned the two reasons that have already been referred to. One, of course, is excessive tang clevis relative movement. Now, has your view changed at all? Is it your position, then-it was your position then that it needs to be redesigned, right?
MR. RAY: Yes.
DR. KEEL: Has it changed today?
MR. RAY: No.
DR. KEEL: It of course wasn't redesigned. This memo went to Mr. Eudy?
MR. RAY: Yes.
DR. KEEL: Mr. Miller, you signed it out?
MR. MILLER: I signed it out.
MR. KEEL: Did you concur with that?
MR. MILLER: Yes, I did.
DR. KEEL: Is that still your position today?
MR. MILLER: Yes.
DR. KEEL: And Mr. Eudy, you got the memo?
MR. EUDY: Yes, sir.
DR. KEEL: What action did you take?
MR. EUDY: Well, of course, I recognized that the problem has been an important problem and an area of concern, and we had a number of technical interchange meetings and a number of telecons with our contractors and of course with these people, and we work with them on a daily basis, and we try to listen to all the data. Of course, we had management reviews, and we tried to consider the test data that has come out of the test firings in the structural tests, and we tried to consider all of the data that was available to us.
Our view was to proceed with the shimming and compressions as we proceed with-this was with everyone being informed of the test data and the results of the tests.
I might comment on the structural test article, I think there was-so far as shimming on the structural test article, I think we did end up shimming on the low side, from what Leon and some other people recommended, and I think at that time part of our position was to go to the low side, to in fact insure on the low side that we were covering those low side concerns.
So that was part of the thinking.
DR. KEEL: The low side with respect to initial
MR. EUDY: Right.
DR. KEEL: But that did nothing with respect to the relative motion?
 MR. EUDY: That's right.
MR. RUMMEL: At the point when that decision was made, had the cases been committed to production?
MR. EUDY: Oh, yes.
MR. RUMMEL: They had been, so there was a production line going at that time and, I assume, several cases on hand?
MR. EUDY: Yes, the production line was running, and there was considerable data base that we had with tests results from those motor cases.
MR. RUMMEL: Do you know, had you made a decision at that time or had NASA made a decision at that time to redesign the joint and gone to some different configuration, what would the impact have been on the flight schedule? Can you say approximately?
MR. EUDY: Well, I guess-and maybe Mr. Hardy would like to comment, but I guess we would have been down probably two years. We would have been back to the billet stage, all the way through the pipeline.
MR. RUMMEL: I assume that was one of the factors you took into account and decided to continue
with the unsatisfactory joint, is that correct? I realize the word unsatisfactory
MR. EUDY: I didn't consider it unsatisfactory. This was flying well in Titan, and we had compressions in the same range we're dealing with in the current design.
MR. SUTTER: How do you know it was flying well in Titan?
MR. EUDY: Well, all of the ground programs and the things that all of the test data we had showed that-well, and all of the programs we had with our own joints looked very good, and so we had absolutely no test failure history of any kind.
MR. SUTTER: Well, there wasn't any history. That's the point I was just making at the last meeting, that there is no data base. I don't consider Titan a data base, since every time they shoot one off it comes back in parts, and here you're talking about designing something that you're supposed to bring home and use 19 times over.
MR. HOTZ: Well, it is a different joint anyway.
MR. SUTTER: But referring back to Titan, I think it's something that I don't think there's any basis for.
MR. ACHESON: Could I ask Mr. Ray in the tab 6 document, the visit to Parker, it's reported here by you the Parker experts thought that the O-ring was being asked to perform beyond its intended design.
Now, what was meant by that, that the O-ring ought not to carry primary combustion pressure or that it had too large tolerances, or just what?
MR. RAY: Let me give you a little background of what actually took place, or I will answer directly if you like, either one.
Mr. Eudy and myself prepared a presentation to Parker Seal and also Precision Seal Company. Mr. Eudy and myself went to precision, and I gave the presentation. What it says is that we were generating a 41 thousandths extrusion gap at that time, and this is the number we knew at that time. We've got the hardware filled. We're going to be flying this thing shortly. What do we do? What do you recommend?
We went further on to Parker to Berea, Kentucky and made the same presentation up there, the identical presentation, and we got the same reaction, that that's not the way you use  an O-ring. You don't use an O-ring with a large extrusion gap. You would prefer to have it zero if you could get it, but that's not possible, but we will let you know later on.
So they wrote a letter to us, and I don't know whether you have the letter or not. The letter says, in essence, the best I can remember it says we realize you're in a bad situation. You're not supposed to use it like that but do all the testing you can to satisfy yourself that it will work, and that's what the letter says.
In saying you're not using the O-ring in a way it's not intended, meaning we had a very large extrusion gap, i.e. 41 thousandths, if you look at the Parker curve and the Parker manual, it's very deceiving. There are no curves on static data extrusion gap. This is a dynamic curve in the cycle.
There are numerous pressure cycles. This one is generated by general motors. If you look at that curve, we're not even on the sheet of paper, okay, with that extrusion gap that we have, much less on the curve. But again, that is a dynamic situation and so we really have no written standard as to what our extrusion gap should be except as recommended by the Parker experts which says hopefully zero, as little as possible but sure not 41 thousandths. That is the data, the reaction that they gave us.
MR. KEHRLI: Mr. Ray, we do not have that letter. If we could get a copy of that, we would appreciate it.
MR. ACHESON: So you have a joint that opens up, much to your surprise, and you thought it ought to close under pressure, and you have an O-ring which the manufacturer thinks is being asked to do a job that it isn't meant to do. And what else entered into the equation that made you satisfied with that design, Mr. Eudy?
MR. EUDY: Well, I was with Mr. Ray on one of the visits, as he mentioned. My perception of what the people were telling us and the conversation we had with people was what we were doing was outside their data base. They were used to, if you would, O-rings on pistons and a cylinder and they understood where we were relative to having flight hardware cut, testing flight hardware.
And I think the bottom line that I received when we left there is that you're going to have to go back and use your data base. You are in a region that we can't give you direct consultation on. You will have to look at your data and how your joints are performing, and that is why at least I, as an individual, put a lot of stock in the test data, looking at the assembly
problems and how much compression and so forth was needed on the joint, to come to a decision as to where we should be.
DR. FEYNMAN: In other words, you didn't discover that it wasn't true; that it did have a big gap, much bigger than the usual application. And it also was true that you had an opening in the gap. All your tests only confirmed that the conditions were just the conditions.
And what test was it that showed you that that thing would work?
MR. EUDY: Well, from my point of view, we had a number of pressure tests, static tests there in Huntsville. We also had the whole development and qualification series in Utah and every one of those motors were torn down and the O-rings were inspected, and out of that whole development series of seven motors, we didn't have any O-ring problem.
DR. COVERT: Were they fired horizontally?
 MR. EUDY: Yes. There was no erosion on any of them. And so again, we tried to use the data base that was available to us with the hardware that was available to us.
DR. SUTTER: Were any of those used segments?
MR. EUDY: I believe in the latter
firings and George, you have to help me they were used, we did reuse segment in the Qual program.
DR. COVERT: That is my memory as well.
DR. WALKER: There's no discussion in these memos about the role of the putty. To me, the putty is a thermal barrier.
Did that enter into your decision at all, the question of whether or not the putty would indeed serve as a proper thermal barrier? Because temperature isn't mentioned in any of these memos, but when you have 5,000 degrees, that is not the sort of thing that an O-ring is usually designed to do.
MR. RAY: Are you directing the question to me, sir?
DR. WALKER: Whoever feels they have information to answer it.
MR. RAY: I think since the inception of the design of the joint and the use of putty, we have never considered the putty as a seal, although it is called a sealant material, but we don't consider it as a seal. We consider it a thermal barrier.
Now, there's a lot of question as to whether putty is really necessary, and that's another question, whether you need anything or not, because you do have a rather long tortuous path down to the O-ring, so that
you don't really have any irradiation effect from the combustion temperatures down into the O-ring.
You don't really have a direct look at it. It can't see the O-ring directly. It has to go around quite a few turns.
DR. WALKER: But, by convection, you could get hot gas down there?
MR. RAY: Yes, you certainly can.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Do you want to speak a little louder? The stenographer is having trouble hearing. If you would raise your voice.
DR. WALKER: I said you do have the possibility of convection of gas down to the O-ring and that happens if you have holes in the putty.
MR. RAY: That happens because we have holes in the putty and we know why we have holes in the putty; there's no doubt about it. The joint is never round; it's never concentric. It is a rather large flexible piece of hardware.
To aggravate the situation, we have a bunch of rubber in there that has to interface together, and it sags because of the propellant weight, no matter what attitude it's in. It sags worse, of course, if it is in the horizontal as opposed to vertical.
If it's in the vertical, it sags down and
still changes shape, so you can put the putty on there as carefully as you want to. When you put it together, you're going to have some places that are going to have rather large gaps, some places are going to be rubber to rubber. You're going to wipe it off.
That's one source for generating a hole through the putty.
 We've known for some time also that when you put the joint together, that we entrap air down in the end of the little tongue and groove. That's the best way to describe it, I guess. The air bubble escapes and it blows a channel through the putty and I just tore down or destacked one at the Cape and they saw that. It's no news to us.
We actually walked inside of a motor case after it was put together, and you can see those volcanoes come through there. That's another source.
MR. HOTZ: Is this the recent destackine.
MR. RAY: Yes. I don't think there's ever a case when you put a case together without having some injury to the putty. So the putty may be a contributor. We really don't know whether, if you have one hole through the putty as opposed to eight or ten, whether that has any effect on it or not. Some people believe it does; that one jet trying to fill a single
cavity is more detrimental to the O-ring than having several jets trying to fill the same body.
MR. ACHESON: A question for Mr. Eudy. I guess the implication is sort of in everyone's mind that the threat of program delays and the threat of cost overruns had something to do with your decision, or at least with Marshall's decision to fly with a basically unsatisfactory joint.
My question is: If you know or could guess in an educated way, what threshold of cost or delay would have been acceptable from the point of view of saying okay, with that much cost increment and that much delay, we can tolerate going back and redesigning the joint?
MR. EUDY: I guess I can't say. Let me just say that where I was in the organization at the time, I was, if you would, on the engineering side and so I had the pleasure of being pure in that regard of saying what I thought the right technical judgments were, if you would, apart from cost and schedule.
I can honestly say the judgments I made at that time were based upon my engineering background, the engineering drawings I was looking at, and the engineering data in front of me and the test results in front of me.
Obviously, the issue is there, but at least I
never sent a recommendation forward to continue with a program that I thought was faulty design.
MR. ACHESON: You're saying from an engineering point of view, you thought it was a satisfactory joint to fly?
MR. EUDY: You bet.
DR. KEEL: Can we qualify the record here, just to make things clear? That at that point you say the engineering data you had-that point, of course, was January 1978 and this is January 1979 for the other-and how many tests did you have in January 1978 other than the two that had failed? The STA article, the static article that had a problem and the hydroburst test where you couldn't get it to seal, or any other test available at that time?
MR. EUDY: I think that is a point of perspective as to whether those failed or not.
DR. KEEL: Well, were any other tests available at that time?
MR. EUDY: Well, I'm a little bit like Leon Ray's condition in that I've been off the program since early 1981, and so you're asking me for memory that I don't have.
DR. KEEL: Does anyone know?
MR. EUDY: There were static tests in Utah at
that point. I don't know how many, and there were also lots of joint structural tests and other tests that we had been running during that whole period to come up to that point.
So there were--
MR. HARDY: What was the time reference?
DR. KEEL: January 1978.
MR. HARDY: There had been ground firings at that time, one or possibly two. I'm not sure.
DR. KEEL: Well, maybe you had one or two others where you didn't have a problem, but you certainly had two tests where you did have problems.
Now, was that enough engineering basis to say it was sound and you didn't need either a long-term or short-term fix?
MR. EUDY: As I was going to say, on the two tests you referred to having problems, they had problems, I think, within some ranges that you would expect to have problems. You're running one to burst, and structural tests, you're running some limits there, too.
DR. KEEL: But you aren't saying that the fact that you ran the pressure up is why you had rotation, are you?
MR. EUDY: I'm not sure I understand.
DR. KEEL: Well, are you saying you wouldn't have had a rotation problem if you hadn't exceeded normal operating pressure?
MR. EUDY: Oh, no.
MR. HARDY: But I think one could say that you wouldn't have had rotation, just to failure of the O-ring if you had not exceeded the operating pressure by 50 percent.
DR. KEEL: What about to unseat the secondary O-ring?
MR. HARDY: I think to unseat the secondary O-ring was the information that was learned during the static test.
DR. KEEL: So that wouldn't have had to run above pressure to do that?
MR. HARDY: That is correct. I think that was the "new" information that we learned from that test article.
MR. RAY: I think what you're referring to-excuse me.
MR. HARDY: Well, I just wanted to add that I believe the two instances you referred to that represent test failures is, as Mr. Eudy said, that in both cases those were limit tests where the O-ring was taken far beyond the planned operating pressure.
DR. KEEL: But I guess the point is, and if I could make the point again, is that the concerns that were raised had nothing to do with the fact that you were raising the pressure above operating pressure; namely, the one of the tang and clevis motion.
MR. HARDY: That is correct.
DR. KEEL: If we could continue here. So, Mr. Eudy, you ultimately, on whatever basis you testified today, you decided that it didn't need to be redesigned.
Now, were you reporting to Mr. Kingsbury at that point?
MR. EUDY: No. During that point I was reporting to, I believe, Bob Marshall during most of this period, William R. Marshall, who was Associate Director for Engineering there, who in turn reports to Mr. Kingsbury.
DR. KEEL: Was he reporting to Mr. Kingsbury?
MR. EUDY: Yes.
 DR. KEEL: Did Mr. Kingsbury get passed the information?
MR. EUDY: I feel reasonably certain that that's so.
DR. KEEL: Well, did you do it?
MR. EUDY: I can't say with certainty if I
personally did. Again, that is a question-somebody else would have to go back to 1978 and 1979.
DR. KEEL: Well, did you get the information, Mr. Kingsbury?
MR. KINGSBURY: No. I cannot comment in this time frame about these detailed concerns of that joint. I just was not involved.
DR. KEEL: Well, they are fairly critical concerns, though. Don't you think if you had known about it, you would remember? Is that a reasonable statement?
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, I would expect I might remember, yes. I have no recollection of these discussions at all.
My discussions became, I got involved in this thing late, as Leon and John know, when we were well into the flight program.
DR. KEEL: But, Mr. Hardy, you got a copy of the memo. Do you recall the memo, in fact both the 1979 memo you got a copy of specifically, which was the one that raised these concerns? You were then the Solid Rocket Booster Program Manager?
MR. HARDY: Yes, that is correct. And I've been asked that question before and I cannot with certainty remember the time and the memorandum itself. I do have some recollection of the issues that were
being discussed at that time.
In my office those were handled principally by Colonel Rice who was my Deputy. However, I was involved, and I specifically remember the issue having to do with shimming. And I specifically remember the discussions that Mr. Ray referred to here between Thiokol and Marshall technical people on trying to understand precisely what was the joint rotation, and whether or not in fact the measured joint rotation and the static structural test represented the proper quantification of that.
Other things I can remember beyond that is in fact that the joint was shimmed; that we did apply shims. I believe there were 35/1000 nominal shims were put in the joint. Other things I remember was that eventually after this time, there was a formal design review and there was a certificate of qualification executed against this piece of hardware, as there was against each piece of hardware.
And to the best of my knowledge, the responsible design engineering people at the Marshall Space Flight Center and the responsible design engineering people at Thiokol signed that certificate of qualification.
It was presented to me prior to the first
flight, STS-1, as being an agreed-to executed certificate of qualification.
DR. KEEL: Let's move on then to in fact the certification and verification process.
The next documents or another set of documents that the Commission has refers to the Space Shuttle Verification and Certification Propulsion Committee which was chaired by General Morgan, and we have documents from July 1980 which have been made available to you.
In there, they specifically express concern about verification of redundancy, and they say with respect to this joint, of course, they say the committee was concerned that the redundancy  feature was not verified by purposely failing one element in such a way to simulate all important failure modes.
And they go on to say that the committee understands from a telecon that the primary purpose of the secondary O-ring is to test the primary O-ring and that redundancy is not a requirement. [Ref. 5/2-25]
Do you know the basis of that statement?
MR. HARDY: I remember the review that you referred to there that General Morgan chaired. I do remember some discussion about testing the capability of the joint to seal with one O-ring; in effect, the
capability to seal if one O-ring fails.
To the best of my recollection, that recommendation was implemented with a test that was a hydroburst or a static hydrotest with one O-ring missing. That is my recollection. I could be wrong on that, but I think that's true,
The discussion there or the reference there to a telcon-and I don't know who that was with-that that implies that there was no intent for the joint to be redundant is totally foreign to me.
I don't know where they would have gotten that information because that was the design requirement for the joint.
DR. KEEL: Wouldn't you have seen those documents, though, since you were then the Solid Rocket Booster Program Manager?
MR. HARDY: Which document are you referring to?
DR. KEEL: The committee reports, Space Shuttle Verification Shuttle Propulsion Committee.
MR. HARDY: Yes.
DR. KEEL: You would have seen them and presumably read them?
MR. HARDY: Yes. And as I said, I think the one recommendation or discussion there having to do with
verifying redundancy-to the best of my recollection, the further discussion of that and disposition of that recommendation was to run a test, a hydroproof test, with one O-ring. And I believe that was done. I can find out for sure. That is the best of my recollection.
But at the time, or as you remind me here, I don't know any discussion-and I may have read that-but I don't know any discussion that had to do with any claim on the part of anybody that it wasn't a requirement for the joint to be redundant.
DR. KEEL: I just have-well, it does say it here, of course, and you have that document, but if you have further information maybe you could provide.
Just one further question, since you brought up the verification point, the recommendation, aside from the fact that they had been told redundancy was a requirement, they then made a recommendation that the upcoming lightweight case test should be expanded in scope to also be a thorough field joint verification test and not just for redundancy, but a full field joint verification for STS-1.
Now, were in fact those cases or those tests expanded prior to STS-1 and was that complete verification consistent with this committee
recommendation done prior to STS-1?
 MR. HARDY: I cannot tell you. I just don't remember. The only thing I can tell is that the closeout of every one of those recommendations was reviewed with the committee. That committee, by the way, was chaired by Walt Williams, and there were several panels and General Morgan headed one of those panels.
The closeout of all of the recommendations was reviewed with and, to the best of my knowledge, resolved to the satisfaction of the panel or the committee and also reviewed at Level II and I believe at Level I within NASA.
But I could possibly research and find out exactly what was done with regard to the specific recommendation that you referred to.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: That would be helpful.
Going to a somewhat different subject on the redesign process that you're working on now, and I guess Mr. Kingsbury heads that up. Are Mr. Ray and Mr. Miller included in that?
MR. KINGSBURY: Mr. Ray has been at the Cape. Mr. Miller is in the Program Office and has been working with us. We have all of the people that have been in this program in the past involved, plus many many others.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: How about Mr. Ebeling at Thiokol, is he on it?
MR. KINGSBURY: Mr. Rogers, I can't tell you what the Thiokol staffing is. I have a staff. We are running a parallel effort, and I am not familiar with the details of their staffing.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I have no other questions.
GENERAL KUTYNA: Mr. Kingsbury, just one. The Thiokol gentleman, as he left the room at the last session, expressed some surprise that we were letting orders to start cutting metal on the 7th of May on the redesign joint, well before the Commission has come out with its recommendation.
Would you like to clarify that and say what we're doing exactly?
MR. KINGSBURY: The way the SRM program is built, it does have hardware as a function of time, and last July an order was placed for 72 segments, case segments. At that time the program had incorporated a capture feature on the filament wound case which uses only a ring, as you will recall, which attaches to the filament wound case when the joints come together, and the program at the time they ordered the 72 joints asked the forger in Wisconsin to forge these total case segments such that there would be sufficient metal that
a capture latch could be incorporated at the tang end of the joint if that decision was made. Now, those segments began arriving at Rohr. I have been up here all week, so I don't know what day it is, but if this is the first of May, they began arriving today. Rohr has asked us, us being Thiokol and Marshall, to give them guidance on what we would like done so that they can begin planning their tooling, and they say they would like that information by the 10th of May.
We have been working parallel but independently now for about three or four weeks. We have met twice, and we meet again next week and attempt to come to a conclusion on any differences we want in the metal itself. It will be, to a degree, a kind of an omnibus thing that leaves us several options that we may then pursue which will require further refinement at a later point in time, but so as to keep the program going. It is our intention to give them information.
DR. WALKER: Who is we?
MR. KINGSBURY: We is Thiokol with Marshall concurrence, but it is a Thiokol contract and Thiokol will issue that direction.
DR. WHEELON: A series of questions, if I may.
How many of these new forgings are now available?
MR. KINGSBURY: There will ultimately be 72. They are coming in pieces.
DR. WHEELON: But how many are there now?
MR. KINGSBURY: Today, none, unless if today is the first of May, there are two, or the second of May, there are two at Rohr and there will be four more by the end of this month, as I understand it.
DR. WHEELON: And do these new forgings allow for a redesign or a limited redesign or no redesign?
MR. KINGSBURY: A redesign, as we see it at this point in time, we can make a total redesign we need within the forging billet that we have.
DR. WHEELON: When could those first forgings be available, and when could they be loaded, and when would they be ready for flight?
MR. KINGSBURY: I'm going to now give you some very, very early data that we are pursuing. Rohr has committed to deliver two finished forgings end of July, four the end of August, and six each month thereafter.
DR. WHEELON: So when does that get us ready?
MR. KINGSBURY: That gets us to where we can have test motors available, we believe, in the December-January timeframe, and flight hardware could be
available mid-next year.
DR. WHEELON: If the new design can be accommodated within these new forgings.
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes.
DR. WHEELON: Do you know yet enough about the redesign that you want to make to be confident, sort of confident or not confident about the ability of these new forgings to accommodate the new design?
MR. KINGSBURY: Now, you are going to talk about engineering judgment, because the analysis
DR. WHEELON: That's what you get paid for.
MR. KINGSBURY: I'm highly confident that we can make a completely reliable, easily assembleable, environmentally independent joint within the forging we are getting.
DR. WHEELON: Super.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I have a question.
The Commission has not drawn conclusions to this point as to what recommendations it might make with respect to redesign. It is certainly within our charter to do so, should we elect to do so, but since we haven't made conclusions at this point, it might be helpful, to the extent you are able, to tell the Commission what sort of guidelines and ground rules you are including in the redesign effort.
MR. KINGSBURY: I would be glad to, Mr. Armstrong, and I understand the Commission has not reported, and I further would comment that with respect to my friend General Kutyna, I must know the answer to the TITAN problem before I can be thoroughly comfortable also, but understanding that those are still outstanding, we are pursuing the basis that there were several things about the joint which were not forgiving. Rotation is a bad thing. We think we can resolve that issue. Putty, so far as I have been able to determine, nobody has found anything good to say about putty, and we expect to be putty-free. We will be environmentally independent  either by conditioning or by protection, and by that I mean we will put a weather seal on and preclude water, and if thermal environmental conditioning is required, we will provide that.
Now, I say that not because I don't think temperature may have contributed to this program or to this problem, but we believe now we have a concept where we are where we were in or thought we were in 1976, and I can only tell you that from what I have heard, and that we now have a concept where the joint actually closes when it rotates rather than opens.
And so, resiliency does not become a factor. But we will qualify for a spectrum of temperature that
far exceeds the requirement. And those are the things that we are putting into it.
Now, anything else that comes out we will have to get back into it, and we will have to go back and look at those factors, but those four elements we recognize need correction.
DR. COVERT: Insofar as it still sounds like it is going to be a reusable joint, do you intend to take a stack and fire it and hydrotest it and clean it and reload it and fire it some number of times so that you get out in front of your usage and encounter the things like case growth and so forth early?
MR. KINGSBURY: Dr. Covert, we've got to understand this case growth thing, and I can tell you now that we do not put sufficient stress in the joint of the membrane of the segment to exceed even the lowest proportional limits you can imagine. And so it is not a simple, we are overstressing it to pressure.
DR. COVERT: I did not mean to imply that it was simple. I meant to suggest, do you test it?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes. We must understand that very thoroughly. There's absolutely no question about that. We are dealing with tolerances that we are talking about here and you are talking about with these gentlemen of .010 or .020 on a 12 foot diameter piece of
metal, and although .010 or .020 may seem like sloppy tolerance on a piston for your automobile, it is awfully tight on a 12 foot diameter cylinder. And so we have got to understand that problem and we may end up having a logistics track that says you match segments before you cast them so you know when you get them to the Cape they will fit. We will use ground support equipment to assist the joining, so we know we put two round pieces together and don't worry about somebody has something that doesn't fit, and he hangs it sideways or whatever to try to make it round.
Our intention and our goal is to have a joint that goes together pretty much like anything that you put together at home when you buy it, and it doesn't take any labor-intensive operations.
DR. COVERT: What I am suggesting is it might be prudent to establish a lead-the-fleet type program where you have a test article that you continue to use over and over again and get a lot of usage out of them early on and be ahead of the problems you encounter.
MR. KINGSBURY: That may be, but one of the things that still has potential consequence to us is there is a possibility that we do not have a complete material transition, and if we do, you can solve that with heat treating. And I think once we understand those
kinds of details, then we should be able to resolve the issue that is in front of us. We simply do not understand that case growth problem, and we cannot describe it mechanically. It does not fall into a mechanical description.
 And so it is an unknown that has to be dealt with, and that could cost us some segments, there's no question about that. It is our intention to understand it and see if we can resolve it, and if it means early termination of the life of some segments because of the condition that they are in, that is what it will mean, they will get thrown away.
I guess I should mention that it is our intention to incorporate the new joint at the field joint, and we are looking at the factory joint, but at this point in time we do not plan to do anything more than perhaps increase the insulation thickness, because that is simply just a piece of membrane.
DR. COVERT: But let me go back to my question again.
There is a process in many propulsion systems, and many, in fact, aircraft systems, and it might even be prudent in the long run in space systems to select an article, run it through a cyclic loading series that represents the usage, do it repeatedly so that you have
exposure on this one to all kinds of things that might not show up in analysis because it is the real world, and I'm suggesting you might want to think about this as a useful thing to preclude other problems we might not understand at this point.
MR. KINGSBURY: Certainly I understand what you're saying. You and I have done it on other programs. There is an element of use I cannot introduce which is of concern to me, and that is water impact. And I have got to look at that.
DR. COVERT: We have got to think about there may be a way of having to simulate that.
All right, thank you.
MR. SUTTER: What about the testing to qualify this joint? Some preknowledge of that might be useful, too.
MR. KINGSBURY: We have a very extensive test program. We start at the component level using cold gas just as an indicator because we could do it quickly. We will stay at the component. Our next series will be probably at the component level using hot gas. We will then go to a hybrid system where we can represent the pressure, the ignition pressure cycle that is up at the same rate and stay there so that we can induce whatever mechanical
MR. SUTTER: Will it include the twang effect?
MR. KINGSBURY: We will do twang tests, certainly, on the structural test article, but we're looking at how can we with hot gas cause the inflection that occurs in the hardware without having to run two-minute static test program that we can run on a cycle of about one every three or four months, and that is an awful lot of testing. And we have this hybrid system that we are putting in place that looks very attractive at this time. One of the problems that has not been thoroughly resolved or has not been resolved at all deals with how much full scale testing must be done, and it is a very simple question. I can say analytically, I can show you, I have dealt with everything that has come out when it is all over, and I clearly by analysis am better, and I will run a number of these, yet to be determined.
If you are a statistician you can say to me that's not enough, you have got to at least equal the experience with the last joint before I say you are good enough to fly, and so that discussion has not occurred, and it simply hasn't permitted me to resolve that issue at this point in time.
There will be some number, obviously, of
static firings, hot firings.
 MR. SUTTER: It would seem to me that that initiative ought to be pushed to the forefront because that is obviously going to cost a lot of money, and that is why it wasn't done before. And how much money needs to be spent ought to be put out there so people can start worrying about it.
MR. KINGSBURY: Mr. Sutter, that subject is being discussed. I discussed it yesterday, as a matter of fact, while I was here, and it is going on today.
There will be other discussions to size the program so we can know what the money sizes are.
DR. COVERT: Might I suggest also you consider firing vertical as opposed to horizontal, and I realize that is an expensive proposition as well.
MR. KINGSBURY: Let me just offer for your benefit some of the problems firing vertical. I have no way to hold it down. The aft skirt will not hold it, and so I have got to build a structure.
Setting that aside, there is not a test stand available in the country that we have been able to find-and we have been searching for three weeks. We tried vertical either way, fire up or down. We cannot find a facility. And the best time we have had suggested to us, and I have some questions as to the
validity of the offer, is 15 months to have a test stand available.
MR. SUTTER: How about firing one down and one up at the same time?
MR. KINGSBURY: Mr. Sutter, we planned that, but we want to gimbal the nozzles, and we ran into trouble with our gimbal nozzle pattern in getting the balances in.
MR. HARDY: You are not suggesting to take the thrust out on the forward dome of each of those two, are you?
MR. SUTTER: I think, though, that asking some of your smart testing guys what kind of testing can we do, they may have been inhibited before due to lack of funds. My only comment is I really don't believe that this ten-inch small-scale test is hardly worth a damn.
MR. HARDY: You are absolutely correct. That is not the way to qualify the new joint. I think that gives you some early on information, but that is not all the answers.
MR. KINGSBURY: The only intention of the small scale testing is, for example, if you remove the putty from the joint, I'm not sure the current joint
configuration, in fact, I feel reasonably confident the current joint configuration is not adequate. It is too wide. Furthermore, it is not enough of a tortuous path. I need to take more energy out that I will get into turns. So that has to be changed.
And I think we can confirm that path on a small motor.
MR. SUTTER: That kind of testing is very valuable.
MR. KINGSBURY: That's what we use it for.
DR. FEYNMAN: Mr. Kingsbury, if I were a statistician and I was trying to determine if you could fly, what probability would you-should I try to establish that the thing will not fail in the future, that is, in determining the number of tests. I have to know that figure so when you say you qualify it, what kind of probability are you qualifying it for?
MR. KINGSBURY: I can't answer that question at this point in time. I obviously am qualifying for the maximum that I can get, and I have got to have some goal. I am not aware, there is a program goal that says you must demonstrate this reliability with this probability. That is worked out on individual elements, and that has not been done on this particular exercise.
 GENERAL KUTYNA: But headquarters is claiming
or was claiming a probability of failure for the solid prior to this time as a result of that nuclear investigation from Galileo. What was the probability on that?
MR. KINGSBURY: On an order of 10-5. Now, that is at any second of time in the flight trajectory, and that was, I believe, misunderstood by a number of people. If you say what is it over the full spectrum, you have got to divide it by 120. But at any point in time it was on an order of 10-5.
DR. FEYNMAN: 10-5 per second, the probability was 10-5per second?
MR. KINGSBURY: No, at any second, in any one second slice, the probability of failure in any one second slice was 100-5.
DR. FEYNMAN: That's what I said, it was 10-5 per second. In two second slices it would be 2 times 10-5, is that right?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes, you could put it that way.
DR. WHEELON: So the chance of a solid rocket motor failing is about 1 injo-39.
MR. KINGSBURY: Those were the numbers that we had, that is correct.
DR. RIDE: I just wanted to comment, it's my understanding that NASA does have a program philosophy
on which the acceptable probability of a solid rocket failure is zero.
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, certainly, Dr. Ride, that is the philosophy on everything that we have, but there is nothing in this world that has a probability of either 100 or zero. It is somewhere in between those two numbers.
DR. RIDE: I appreciate that.
MR. ACHESON: Did I hear you to say that the new design will have as one of its goals that the O-rings will be protected in some way from either binding by misfit in the stacking process, or injury in the stacking process?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes, you did.
MR. ACHESON: And if so, how would that be achieved?
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, let me have-I have a three-hour briefing that does this. Let me try to tell you quickly.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Shorten it, if you would.
MR. KINGSBURY: I intend to put a ring on both sides of the joint, a fairly massive ring which will make that joint round at the top and bottom. Now, to assure when they come together, I don't have an offset on the center lines, I have another ring on the bottom that extends out further than the inside-where the outside leg of the clevis, and so I force it wherever it's coming down. I force it to go in the middle.
MR. RUMMEL: How about spring back when the ring is removed?
MR. KINGSBURY: Thank you, sir. At that point in time I will custom shim around the diameter of the joint, and only then will I take the ring off.
MR. RUMMEL: So, whatever stress may be there the spring back will just be there, and the shims are tight enough so the segments won't move. Is this what you are saying?
MR. KINGSBURY: No, there will be some motion, probably of an order to 0.002 to 0.003 maximum, we could have at ignition, and we will calculate based on measurements being made today and that have been made over the past several weeks and will continue to be made on cases that have been loaded, what is the spectrum of out of round that we have so that we know what kind of local strain we have to put in, and then we will do a statistical analysis and put a three sigma worst on that, and that is the number we will use to assume residuals to be sure that we do not have a problem of residuals when we are locked up.
MR. RUMMEL: Are they shipped in those rings?
MR. KINGSBURY: No. The rings will be applied at the Cape.
MR. RUMMEL: So, they could come in out of round?
MR. KINGSBURY: I think it is axiomatic, they will come in out of round. They are shipped flat, lying down, because they cannot-we cannot clear the railways standing up. We will then put them on a
transportation dolly and attempt to begin the rounding process at that dolly, and then the final rounding will be done with the rings.
MR. RUMMEL: In other words, you will try to push them back into round before the rings
MR. KINGSBURY: I will stand them up and put them in a round fixture on that dolly that matches the tang which is down, force that to begin the rounding process, but I won't depend on that. I will conclude with an actual fixture that does it.
DR. FEYNMAN: Mr. Kingsbury, I'm very confused. You've been using these probability numbers and I've suddenly discovered they're not what I've thought. The flight has the engines running at least 500 seconds.
MR. KINGSBURY: Five-twenty.
DR. FEYNMAN: And if the probability of failure is one times ten to the 5th per second, that's 500 to the 5th which is about one in two hundred.
MR. KINGSBURY: I would have to go back and look at the engine numbers, Dr. Feynman.
DR. FEYNMAN: It is very easy to multiply 500 times ten to the minus five.
MR. KINGSBURY: I don't know that they were built on the same basis as the SRB numbers were built.
I'm sorry, I just can't answer that question.
Well, Dr. Feynman, you are saying the SRB is ten to the minus five and you divide it by 120. If the SSME is ten to the minus five, you must divide it by 520, and so it is a very high probability.
DR. FEYNMAN: Let's take the SRB. Would that be one in a thousand, say, the probability of failure from one of the two SRB's is about one in 500 flights?
MR. KINGSBURY: That is what the numbers would say.
DR. FEYNMAN: But you were having a considerable discussion with Mr. Ullian where he was estimating, was somewhere between one in a hundred and one in a thousand. There's a tremendous amount of discussion, I suppose, and I discover you both have the same answer.
 MR. KINGSBURY: Eventually we did have that, Mr. Feynman. Originally we did not have-originally, Mr. Ullian's number was one in fifty-seven and that was based on every solid rocket motor failure that had occurred since 1958, and I contend there has been learning in the industry in the last 25 years and that some of the things that we did in 1958 to 1960, we now know how to do properly and therefore that data base was invalid.
Mr. Ullian's data base contained some other
deficiencies, in my judgment, in that he called failures-he called-he identified things as failures where a mission was completed successfully, and I have difficulty calling that a failure, and so we had a lot of discussions.
You're exactly right, ultimately we came to essentially the same number. I never changed, I should say.
MR. SUTTER: I would like to change the subject and maybe this is an improper subject, but since this is the last meeting in our design reviews that Jack Lee supported us on, one of the inputs that came out of there and one of the things NASA is doing is a review of the critical items list and a review of the hazard analysis, it was the intent to make sure that there aren't things in there that shouldn't be changed, or procedures changed or something, prior to the next flight.
And since the joint now, the joint design is well along, how is the rest of the-look at the rest of the system and what may be coming out there and what time may be coming out there as to what else needs to be done.
Do you gentlemen have any knowledge of that?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes, I think I can speak to that. The system is looking at everything except the solid rocket motor that we are looking at redesigning.
We will look at that and any changes that we make, we will write a new FMEA, develop a new CIL, or if we don't make a change we will review very thoroughly the FMEA and the CIL.
MR. SUTTER: And this includes things like the main engine?
MR. KINGSBURY: The system is doing-I didn't make my point. There is a group that I have dedicated to redesigning some elements of the SRM. The rest of the system, the shuttle system at the Marshall Space Flight Center, is looking at the external tank, the SSME, the SRB systems that are not included in my activity, and I'm looking at the SRM.
MR. SUTTER: But you don't know how they're coming along on that and what the timing is to reach conclusions?
MR. KINGSBURY: I have not seen the schedule, no, sir, I have not.
DR. WALKER: I have a couple of questions.
MR. SUTTER: Well, I would just like to make a comment. It would be good to know how they're coming on that. Maybe before the report is finalized, it ought to be in the report that this analysis was requested and NASA was doing it anyhow.
MR. KINGSBURY: Mr. Sutter, I'm sure Jack Lee
can provide that. It's just that I haven't seen it. The program is working that problem and I'm sure has a schedule developed.
MR. SUTTER: Thank you.
 DR. WALKER: First, I have a specific question. You're going to remove the putty, which I think is a wise decision. What technique are you going to use to protect the seals? I assume you're still talking about the rubber or Viton seals.
What technique are you going to use to protect those from the interior heat?
MR. KINGSBURY: The very early thermal analyses we've done, and these are far from complete, show that the standing column of gas in the joint at the instant before ignition, then infused by the hot gas at ignition, temperatures at the joint achieve approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
Now, if that was all I had to deal with it would be easy, but the dynamics show also that if you get a fairly small pressure differential around the periphery, you now set up circumferential flow, and so we must build some dams in there which cut off that circumferential flow.
That detail has not been worked out, but I understand it and we know when we must do it. And the
analytical work and some of the empirical work is starting this week.
DR. WALKER: I thought the compression of the gas generated temperatures of about 1,000 degrees or so.
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, I can't tell you the details. I got the numbers from my folks last weekend, a very quick number, that said, with the joint as we have it now designed, and the path that we now have designed, I can expect somewhere between 150 and 160, maybe as high as 200, but well within the capability of any of the elastomers that we are considering.
DR. WALKER: I have a bit of unease about the speed or the pace at which the redesign is proceeding, and it seems as though there are some external factors such as these new cases which seem to preclude certain design options, for example, eliminating elastic seals altogether.
MR. KINGSBURY: No, sir, it does not. We can still modify the clevis end of the joint and put metal seals, pressure actuated metal seals. I really don't want to do that because I depend upon pressure, but that's, a possibility.
We are not limited in what we can do at all.
DR. WALKER: Have you examined the possibility of metal seals in depth?
MR. KINGSBURY: We are examining the possibility of metal seals. We haven't chosen the seals. We have a program that will run out at the end of June that we are running, and when that runs out, I think in June or July at Thiokol, that they are running that, and both are fairly broad programs and complementary, from which we would draw the conclusions of what the seals should be.
DR. FEYNMAN: I just have calculated the temperature from the compression. Supposing you get to 750 psi and you compress air at room temperature under that, under room temperature which is 50 times the pressure at which it starts, and then the entropy doesn't change and the entropy is a log of the ratio, and then you soon find you get to about 1,000 degrees.
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes, sir, instantaneously, but you are now stagnant. You will not maintain that pressure for the full time. You now have a stagnant column which is going to give up that energy.
DR. FEYNMAN: What happens to the pressure?
MR. KINGSBURY: It stays there.
DR. FEYNMAN: Where does the energy go, to the heating of metal?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes, and the rubber and anything else that is there.
DR. FEYNMAN: And the rubber?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes.
MR. KEHRLI: Mr. Kingsbury, you have been discussing the redesign of the case to case, or the field joint. Did I understand you to say that there will also be a redesign of the case to nozzle joint seal?
MR. KINGSBURY: I don't believe I said that, but there probably will be.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I just wanted to say, unless there are other questions, I would like to say first, thank you very much and I guess the most important thing that the Commission, I guess can accomplish would be to have safety in the future, in the foreseeable future.
And we realize it is a difficult job you have, and in a sense you are going to be under the same general conditions that you were under when you launched 51-L, that you had schedule pressures of sorts. And there's been a lot of comment on whether that might have affected a lot of the decisions or not, but certainly it is something that is real in life, and you are going to have those now and in the future too because people-if they're thinking about starting to fly flights-if the flights begin in a year or so and it drags on for two years, you will be under constant pressure to do something right away and that would be repeating the
mistake-a mistake of the past, I guess.
And second, if you have financial problems, that you can't do some of these tests because you think you can't afford it, that also may be one of the things that contributed to this accident.
And I guess what I'm saying first, if we can help in any respect in our recommendation, we would like to do it. I mean, as far as I'm concerned the most important thing of all is to get back to safe flight. And if you don't, even if you get back quickly and something happens, it is a tragedy of great magnitude because it could almost end manned space flight.
So, you might want to think about what we could recommend that would be helpful.
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, thank you, Mr. Rogers. Let me say that from the bottom of my heart, we are not going to fly again until we are ready, and I have found no one in the system who has argued one bit with me.
We have discussed when we can fly. There have been some of those pressures, that, can't we do it in a year. The answer is no. We cannot do it in a year. We cannot do it until we are safe, reliable, repeatable every time. And I have had no arguments of other than, gee, I wish you could do better, type of thing.
I think we all understand that we are simply
not going back to a flight program until we are confident we have this thing fully controlled, and I'm not going back to a flight program and I believe I can stand behind this, until I can say there may be another failure in the shuttle in its history but it will not be a solid rocket motor.
I'm not stopping at the joint. We are looking at all of it.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Well, very good. I appreciate those comments very much.
DR. WALKER: Mr. Chairman, could I just have one more? Dr. Kingsbury, I'm really still a little concerned that you may be under
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Speak a little louder.
DR. WALKER: I'm really still concerned that you may under pressure, schedule pressures that, for example if you decided you needed to build several designs, at least in scale and test  them, that there might be pressures which would preclude your doing that? And I'm just very concerned that the pressure to get the system operating again is going to force an early decision on the design of the new joint, and I'm just wondering how you anticipate that that will be resisted.
MR. KINGSBURY: Well, I don't know what else I
can say. Let me say first that I am Mr. Kingsbury. You spend a modest amount of time in our fair city and I invite you to come and sit with me at any time and let us show you where we are. I just have no intentions of doing anything hastily and I have found nothing in the system above me that is encouraging it, and it is not one of these things I will quit. I'm not going to quit.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Well, we wish you luck. It's a tough job and we all appreciate it. Did he call you Doctor?
MR. KINGSBURY: Yes.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Chuck Yeager calls me Doctor. I'm not a doctor either.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Thanks a lot.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: We have some Commission members absent. We're almost at the end of the day here and we would like to move along, if we may.
If all of you gentlemen haven't been sworn in, would you rise, please, and take the oath. [Witnesses sworn.]
[Please note that some of the titles to the references listed below do not appear in the original text. Titles are included to identify and clarify the linked references- Chris Gamble, html editor]
 [Ref. 5/2-21 1 of 4] MSFC Letter from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy. Subject: Restatement of Position on SRM Clevis Joint O-Ring Acceptance Criteria and Clevis Joint Shim Requirements.
 [Ref. 5/2-21 2 of 4] MSFC Letter from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy. Subject: Restatement of Position on SRM Clevis Joint O-Ring Acceptance Criteria and Clevis Joint Shim Requirements.
 [Ref. 5/2-21 3 of 4] + [Ref. 5/2-21 4 of 4] MSFC Letter from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy. Subject: Restatement of Position on SRM Clevis Joint O-Ring Acceptance Criteria and Clevis Joint Shim Requirements.
 [Ref. 5/2-22 1 of 2] MSFC's SRM Clevis Joint Leakage Study. Leon Ray, October 21, 1977.
 [Ref. 5/2-22 2 of 2] MSFC's SRM Clevis Joint Leakage Study. Leon Ray, October 25, 1977.
 [Ref. 5/2-23] MSFC Letter from Mr. Miller to Mr. Eudy. Subject: Evaluation of SRM Clevis Joint Behavior.
 [Ref. 5/2-24 1 of 2] Letter MSFC Letter from Mr. Ray to Distribution. Subject: Visit to Precision Rubber Products Corporation and Parker Seal Company.
 [Ref. 5/2-24 2 of 2] Letter MSFC Letter from Mr. Ray to Distribution. Subject: Visit to Precision Rubber Products Corporation and Parker Seal Company. (continued).
 [Ref. 5/2-25 1 of 14] Space Shuttle Verification/Certification Propulsion Committee L/Gen Thomas W. Morgan, 10 July 1980.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 2 of 14] Solid Rocket Motor Recommendations. [Ref. 5/2-25 3 of 14] Joint Integrity.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 4 of 14] Joint Integrity. (continued). [Ref. 5/2-25 5 of 14] Propulsion Committee Members.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 6 of 14] Solid Rocket Motor Observations. [Ref. 5/2-25 7 of 14] Introduction.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 8 of 14] No Verification at Temperature Extremes. [Ref. 5/2-25 9 of 14] Propulsion.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 10 of 14] Propulsion. [Ref. 5/2-25 11 of 14] Propulsion.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 12 of 14] Propulsion. [Ref. 5/2-25 13 of 14] Propulsion.
 [Ref. 5/2-25 14 of 14] Propulsion.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Would you want to identify yourself?
MR. STOCKER: My name is John Stocker. I am assistant general counsel for Rockwell Corporation. I am appearing here with Mr. Lunney.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: You don't intend to testify?
MR. STOCKER: I do not, sir.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: We would like to refer to a couple of documents first, and then maybe ask some questions.
MR. KEHRLI: Mr. Lunney, as you know my name is Randy Kehrli and I haven't met you, Mr. Weeks. I'm one of the Commission staff investigators assisting the Commission, and I would like to refer you to the red book in front of you.
I guess you have two there, turn to Tab Number 13, in that book. If you would turn to that, and I would like to start with you, Mr. Lunney, I have interviewed
you before out in Seal Beach, is that correct? [Ref. 5/2-26 through 29]
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, sir.
MR. KEHRLI: And, during that interview we discussed, did we not, the change in criticality of the SRM seal, joint seal, from criticality 1-R to 1, do you recall that?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes.
MR. KEHRLI: And also the subsequent waiver that was granted in connection with that criticality?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes.
MR. KEHRLI: And would you tell the Commission at that time, what was your role with NASA?
MR. LUNNEY: At that time I was the-what was called the level two program manager for the space transportation system.
MR. KEHRLI: And your successor in that job is a man named Mr. Arnie Aldridge, is that correct?
MR. LUNNEY: That is correct.
MR. KEHRLI: And that was at Johnson Space Flight Center?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes.
MR. KEHRLI: Would you tell the Commission what your role was with regard to the criticality change from 1-R to 1, please?
MR. LUNNEY: Because of the nature of it, I
had to approve it or disapprove it. I had to disposition it. And I also, because of the nature of it, I had to send it on up to headquarters for their approval. I approved it and sent it on for their approval.
MR. KEHRLI: What do you recall specifically about that change? Why was that change made, sir?
MR. LUNNEY: I don't recall exactly what tests were going on, but it was my understanding that some tests were going on at Marshall and some things had been learned about the rotation of the joint in the SRB case-to-case sealing part of the rocket.
As a result of those tests, it was concluded that it was possible under certain circumstances of extreme dimensional tolerance not to have the secondary O-ring seal. In that case we would be left with just one seal, that is the primary O-ring acting as the seal for the SRB case-to-case joint. In that case, then, we would have been dealing with not two seals, as we originally thought, which is why the R was on the nomenclature, but rather one seal and therefore when it was discovered that under these circumstances that such a condition could exist, the criticality was changed from 1R redundant to 1 all by itself.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Was the purpose of that to let everyone in the system know the conclusion so they should act accordingly?
MR. LUNNEY: Probably several purposes; that and also
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Would that be one purpose?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, I think that would be one purpose.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: The other purposes would be
MR. LUNNEY: The other purposes would be to keep a good record of those over the life of the program, because we were dealing even at that time with the program that was almost 15 years old, and we wanted to have a good record of what all the critical items were in the program so that as the program evolved new people could be brought up to speed as to what the critical items were and be aware of the design features that were critical.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Now suppose that later on a contractor came to the conclusion or Marshall came to the conclusion that after all there was some redundancy. What would you then do?
MR. LUNNEY: Well, the approval of the waiver was in March of '83. At the time I was involved in that, I was operating on the assumption that there really would be redundancy most of the time except when the secondary O-ring had a set of dimensional tolerances add up, and in that extreme case there would not be a secondary seal.
So I was dealing with what I thought was a case were there were two seals unless the dimensional
tolerances were such that there might only be one seal in certain cases.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Now, to me, if you will excuse the expression, that sounds almost contradictory, what you just said. What you first said was you came to the conclusion that you could only rely on the primary seal and therefore you removed the R.
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, sir.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: And now you're saying, if I understand it, that experience showed that there was redundancy after all.
MR. LUNNEY: No, I don't know of any experience showing that. What I'm saying is that the removal of the R is an indicator that under all circumstances we did not have redundancy. There were a certain number of cases under which we would not have redundancy of the secondary O-ring.
Recognizing that, even though there were a lot of cases where we expected we would have redundancy, we changed the criticality designation.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: It was saying to everybody else you can't necessarily rely on the primary seal, and if the primary seal fails, as you've said here, there may be loss of vehicle, mission and crew.
MR. LUNNEY: I would only adjust that to say
you cannot rely on the secondary O-ring but we would expect the primary O-ring to always be there.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: You would expect after that that if experience showed that there was from time to time a failure of the primary O-ring, then you would say we had better now do something right away because we can't rely on the secondary O-ring?
MR. LUNNEY: And that could happen.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: The purpose of the change was to alert everybody to this possibility?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, sir.
MR. KEHRLI: Mr. Lunney, on what basis or what data or what persons were you relying on to determine that the secondary should be there most of the time?
MR. LUNNEY: I have trouble recalling all that transpired in that month, but I recall conversations with Larry Mulloy.
MR. KEHRLI: Tell us about those conversations, please.
MR. LUNNEY: The conversations were that the cases under which the secondary O-ring would not be active were cases where the dimensions of both the seal and the grooves in the cases that the O-ring was being put in would be stacked up in a worst case way such that the secondary O-ring would not be active.
In those cases we would not have the secondary O-ring active, and therefore we were down to just the primary O-ring, and I don't recall in what forum those conversations were held, but that is what I recall about the waiver at the time.
DR. KEEL: Can I just ask one clarification? If you read the criticality, which of course you signed off on the waiver and I've just re-read it, it doesn't mention tolerances.
MR. LUNNEY: I know.
DR. KEEL: So there's nothing in the criticality that would indicate that that is the basis on which the redundancy was waived?
MR. LUNNEY: I agree, there's nothing in the writeup on dimensional tolerances.
DR. KEEL: This was done, as noted on your waiver, was done outside the Program Review Board?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, I didn't recall that and still don't, for that matter. Outside the board means that we did not have a meeting where it was discussed at the meeting. Sometimes that is done when the responses to the change are such that there is not any disagreement and there isn't any known issue that wants to be debated on the subject.
In that case, in that kind of case a change
would be processed outside the board. I would not say that that means that it's outside the review process, which it was well within, but rather it was not dealt with formally at a board with people sitting in the room looking at viewgraphs at the same time.
DR. KEEL: Did this waiver mean that, in fact, that the original design required there be redundancy in this field joint and that you were now waiving that requirement?
MR. LUNNEY: Yes, sir.
DR. KEEL: So you waived that requirement outside the control board and based upon a telephone conversation?
MR. LUNNEY: To the best of my knowledge, it was on the telephone. I don't know. I might have seen Larry personally sometime that month. I don't know. I had no evidence of any quarrel or debate about that.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: What is the meaning of this whole process, though, if you go through this and you warn everybody and then nothing is done and there's no change made, and then you just keep waiving it? What have you accomplished?
MR. LUNNEY: What we were trying to accomplish was to let people know about the criticality of it and maintain a record of that criticality of all of the
design items in the program.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Which would merely mean that if Larry Mulloy called you and you made a notation of it, you would feel better just because you had a record of it?
MR. LUNNEY: No, I didn't mean for that purpose. I meant to maintain a set of records as to what the criticality of all of these design issues were so that the program would have a ready reference to that many years to come.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Just to follow that, at the time you were running the program did you visualize the Criticality 1 items should have any different kind of treatment from 1Rs or 2s or anything else in terms of handling or inspection or any other considerations, or was it just a paperwork kind of exercise?
MR. LUNNEY: Well, I don't know that I felt that it would result in any different handling, but I did not think of it as a paperwork exercise, in that I felt it was important to keep a good record on the program of what the critical items were in the design.
In some cases, those critical items led to special requirements for testing at the Cape before launch. As a matter of fact, the critical items list
early in the program was used as part of the basis to derive the test requirements and in the test procedures that were conducted at the Cape.
What I mean by that in some cases the rationale for accepting a certain design condition could be that it was testable at the Cape a short time before launch and then it would therefore be tested each time at the Cape before launch.
So it did serve an active purpose in the program and especially on the front end of the program. It had an influence on the kind of test requirements that existed and ultimately the kind of test procedures that were conducted.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: But you can't really say that in this case, though.
MR. LUNNEY: I cannot say that.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: In this case, as Mr. Armstrong has mentioned, it is really just a paper process. I mean, you sign it and you say you don't have redundancy that may result in a loss of mission and crew, and then with no change in anything Mr. Mulloy just keeps calling and waiving and nothing happens, and so from that standpoint it is just then a paper transaction.
MR. LUNNEY: Well, it can look that way, yes,
GENERAL KUTYNA: There was no priority given in the decision process for Criticality 1? For example, in an airplane there are certain things a sergeant can sign off and certain things the chief of maintenance can sign off, but other things, you only fly if the wing commander signs it off, and this was signed off not at Level III? Go/no go on this Criticality 1 and on the O-rings?
Would not the fact that it was a Criticality 1 bump it up to Level II or III?
MR. LUNNEY: General Kutyna, do you mean at the time of this waiver or do you mean later on?
GENERAL KUTYNA: Later on.
MR. LUNNEY: Later on there were several occasions of erosion of the primary O-ring. They were surfaced in Flight Readiness Reviews that I recall as appropriate, and I don't mean to say as I recall. I believe they were always surfaced in the next Readiness Review after the erosion of the O-ring occurred. I am not sure of this, but I believe also that they were treated sometime in the anomaly log from each flight, where we would have an anomaly, and that was also treated,
Then when we went to the Flight Readiness
Review the subject would be treated again in terms of we had erosion, there were tests conducted to determine that the erosion of the primary seal was a duration limited phenomenon, that it would only occur for a matter of milliseconds, and then it would not propagate any more than that.
They ran tests, as I recall, to be sure you could tolerate more erosion than that and still have a good seal. So each time that there was an event on a flight on erosion of the O-ring, that event triggered a subsequent discussion at the Flight Readiness Review. I would have to say that those discussions were never of the class that you might call a red flag but rather as a class that once we had one.
We saw it occasionally on a couple of the flights while I was there, and it was treated as something that occasionally happened. When we got flow past the O-ring or to the O-ring, that's an erosion but that it was limited in duration and would only go so far, and we had some margin on how far it would go.
DR. KEEL: Mr. Weeks, do you recall the basis on which you waived this for Level I, is that correct?
MR. WEEKS: Yes, sir.
DR. KEEL: Who was the associate administrator then for space flight? That was in 1983.
MR. WEEKS: Let's see. Officially John Yardley left and General Abrahamson came aboard, and the date I signed it was the 23rd of March, I believe, or the 28th of March. I believe that must have been General Abe.
DR. KEEL: Was it normal for you to sign off on a waiver of a Criticality 1 item as opposed to the associate administrator?
MR. WEEKS: We had no fundamental ground rule about that. During the years that I was deputy to John Yardley we would usually talk about these.
DR. KEEL: Did you talk about this with General Abrahamson?
MR. WEEKS: I can't recall that I did.
DR. KEEL: If you signed off on the 28th, what was the basis that you agreed to waive the requirement?
MR. WEEKS: This whole program of all of the things that were critical on the Shuttle were reviewed, and I think we put in here for your purposes into the report not only this waiver but also the review that Dr. Lovelace and Dr. Frosch [phonetic] put into the program about in the August time frame of 1980 before we flew STS-1.
Of course, I attended every one of the meetings of General Tom Morgan and his propulsion group
that reviewed all of the propulsion items, and I think it's all here for you to see. We felt at that time-all of the people in the program I think felt that this solid rocket motor in particular more than the SRB was probably one of the least worrisome things we had in the program.
I presume you rather carefully read all of General Morgan's-and General Morgan has retired now but he was head of the propulsion group that did the entire program review. [Ref. 5/2-25]
GENERAL KUTYNA: What year was that?
MR. WEEKS: That was Dr. Lovelace and Dr. Frosch started that about-well, I guess the first meeting was
GENERAL KUTYNA: When was that meeting when Morgan wrote his comments?
MR. WEEKS: The first review of it that we got was in the May timeframe, but it started a fair bit earlier than that.
GENERAL KUTYNA: Of what year?
MR. WEEKS: In 1980 this was done by the administrator and his deputy because they felt that we really needed to, and properly so, to have a complete verification certification before the program started in 1972 and it was now, what, eight years.
They thought we should re-review all of the certification on the program.
DR. KEEL: I hate to interrupt you, but can we get back to the original question here for a moment?
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: We have that, so we can look at it.
MR. WEEKS: Well, I presume you did read that.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Why do you presume that?
MR. WEEKS: Well, we sent it to you on the tenth of February, sir.
DR. KEEL: Yes, we have it, and amongst the other things it says that General Morgan was told that there was no requirement for redundancy and I assumed that you didn't agree with that at this point, did you?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I don't believe in any of those reviews there was any discussion of abandoning the redundant O-ring seals.
DR. KEEL: Have you read his report of July 1980 where he said that he asked about redundancy verification and he was told that the secondary O-ring was only basically-its primary function was to leak check and there was no requirement for redundancy? Have you read that, in July 1980?
DR. KEEL: It is probably in the same book you've got there.
MR. WEEKS: I assume I read it, but I can't authoritatively recall the document.
DR. KEEL: But if we can just move along and assume that we have all read it and get back to the question.
What was the basis on which you waived the requirement of redundancy?
MR. WEEKS: The fundamental thing is that there was the review by that impartial group, and then if you read the document itself, I think the fact that it says that the laboratory test program demonstrated the ability of the O-ring to operate successfully when extruded into gaps well over those encountered in this application.
Uniform gaps of an eighth of an inch and over successfully withstood 1,600 psi, which is 1.6 times the operating pressure.
The hydroburst test program out at Wasatch for the standard weight case all have shown that the O-ring can withstand a minimum of four pressurization cycles.
DR. KEEL: I guess the point is, then, that you waived it because you felt the primary O-ring would work? Is that what you're saying, because it would have
extruded in the gap?
GENERAL KUTYNA: While you're reading from the charts, I would like to make the point that there are no tests at the extreme temperatures is what the next chart says. These are only tests between 40 and 90 degrees, so when you say the tests
DR. KEEL: But I think that that is irrelevant, and all he's saying is that that says the primary O-ring will seal, and you have to assume that; otherwise, you wouldn't waive it. Is that the basis, then?
MR. WEEKS: But your words were that I signed it because I was depending on the primary.
DR. KEEL: Isn't that what that says, that the primary would work?
MR. WEEKS: No, the secondary seal is still there and provides some capability, and that is the subject of an extreme amount of discussion.
DR. KEEL: Where does it say that from what you're reading?
MR. WEEKS: It doesn't say that, but everybody knows you have a dual O-ring.
DR. KEEL: Well, that's what you're basing your waiver on. You're just reading from the document. It talks about that, the fact that, yes, the primary would work. I certainly wouldn't think you would waive it if the primary wouldn't work because then you would have no seal; no primary, no secondary.
MR. WEEKS: Well, Dr. Keel, the secondary O-ring is still there and does provide, maybe not dual redundancy, but one point X of redundancy.
DR. KEEL: But, Mr. Weeks, I'm not arguing whether it's there or not. I'm just trying to understand why you waived and if you waived it because you thought the primary would work. That is consistent with waiving, it.
But if you're saying that you waived it for some other reason, what was the reason?
MR. WEEKS: I waived it because I thought the system would work.
DR. KEEL: Does that mean you thought it was redundant or not?
MR. WEEKS: That I thought it was to a degree
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Sort of redundant? That's fair enough.
Are there any other questions?
MR. KEHRLI: I have one last question of Mr. Lunney.
During the interviews of some of the people at Marshall, the Commission has received information that in the 1982-1983 timeframe, there was a conscious decision between Level II at Johnson, your office, and Marshall, that some of the flight anomalies or problems that were discovered after flight would no longer be reported from Marshall to Level II to the same degree that they had been in the past.
Do you recall that?
MR. LUNNEY: No, I don't.
MR. KEHRLI: To your knowledge, did that ever happen? Was there ever a decision not to report problems from Marshall to Level II at Johnson?
MR. LUNNEY: I just don't recall anything like that.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Mr. Armstrong.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I wanted to ask Mr. Weeks as a proper basis for the next question, would you tell me what your responsibility is?
MR. WEEKS: Today or at the time of this?
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Let's say in the past year.
MR. WEEKS: In the past year I have been the Deputy Associate Administrator of the Office of Space Flight, Technical.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And under you would fall certain experts such as Mr. Winterhalter for the solid rocket booster?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I think, Mr. Armstrong
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And what would their responsibilities be?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I performed essentially in the entire time that Mr. Moore was the AA, there was no principal Deputy, and so I basically performed in both roles during the tenure of Mr. Moore.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And during the period of 1985 when the questions of O-ring sealing were of major interest, you and your staff were closely involved with those discussions and with presentations to Headquarters in August of 1985 and so on; am I correct?
MR. WEEKS: We made them happen.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And you were in fact operating in the Level I/Level II arena? The Level I
MR. WEEKS: Well, I recall at the Level I arena particularly, I believe.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: As you know, we've had a lot of discussions about communication difficulties on the night before the 51-L launch, of information properly getting to Level II and Level I. And should it have, or should it have happened differently?
Is it not a fact that you and your people were very well aware of these particular difficulties and interests and you did-you were at Level I and although you may not have been involved directly in this communication chain, it wasn't a fact that you were not aware of these kinds of problems?
MR. WEEKS: Certainly I was. I happened not to be there. There were congressional hearings, and I was in Washington at the time of the launch and that night, but absolutely, I attended every FRR of the 25 flights and every L-1 of the 25 flights.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: If I understand it right, you shared these concerns about the proper sealing of the joint under all conditions and so on. And that is what it was that in fact caused you to require some of these presentations to your offices and
so on; am I right?
MR. WEEKS: Yes. The thing that triggered us most in the Office of Space Flight was the fact that the 29th of April launch of 1985 was the first occurrence in the nozzle of the secondary O-ring ever having any erosion and that caused me to review it in Wasatch with others, and then for a more complete review on August 19th in Washington.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, it has occurred to me and others that your group was essentially a redundant path of information in this time period and that even though you weren't involved in the particular meetings that we've discussed in earlier public hearings, that you were in fact aware of the problems and it might have well been expected that you might have passed these concerns on, knowing it was a winter launch and so on, to Mr. Moore or Mr. Aldrich or others.
I wonder, am I misinterpreting that that might have been possible?
MR. WEEKS: Well, we certainly in a number of cases brought to-we have a monthly meeting. It is called the Associate Administrator's Montly Meeting. And during that time we bring forward the directors, like Mr. Winterhalter, and the other directors on the orbiter, et cetera, to the Associate Administrator and
myself and review quite across the board, all technical, programmatic and cost issues.
And that was done and is done and the O-ring was actively brought into those monthly meetings during the-well, during the entire last couple of years, where as you well know, there were many of those erosion cases. There was nothing hidden in the FRRs. There was nothing hidden in the Associate Administrator Monthly Reviews that didn't bring forward that there was a significant O-ring erosion problem.
And then when the first case of, the secondary O-ring being eroded to the tune about 32 1000 of an inch, that caused a number of reviews, which is in that document of February 10th and culminated, I guess you would say in the August 19th review.
And, of course, Mr. Moore couldn't attend that. He had some other requirement. But we then carried it to him and reviewed it with him, and I remember quite vividly saying I'm still not satisfied and said I've got to talk to somebody, and decided that the most prudent individual that I had confidence in was Mr. George Hardy, and I did so.
But Mr. Hardy allayed my concerns. Maybe I was not tough enough, but I began to believe that what we were doing with the filament wound case changes was
pretty prudent action.
VICE CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Both Mr. Moore and Mr. Aldrich have testified to us that they didn't get information of this concern, at least on the night before the launch. But I gather from your testimony that they somehow should have been very well aware of this general type of concern as a result of you and your staff's activities and your responsibilities.
MR. WEEKS: Well, I can't speak as authoritatively for Mr. Aldrich. He's in Houston. But certainly Mr. Moore attended every FRR, I believe, and every L-1 in his tenure as the AA, and he certainly knew that we were having those erosion problems starting about two years earlier than that time.
DR. KEEL: If I could follow up, Mr. Armstrong's questions, I think Mr. Aldrich's testimony was to the effect that the level of concern wasn't in fact reflected in the Flight Readiness Reviews, and I guess I would like to follow up on that and find out if you had some way of knowing the level of concern other than the Flight Readiness Reviews before your action you took in June of 1985.
For example, on 51-C, which is the previous coldest launch, Mulloy in fact asked through a certified urgent message ultimately for Morton-Thiokol to recap
all incidents of O-ring erosion and evidence of low past primary O-ring.
As a consequence of that, that was done by Morton-Thiokol, an extensive briefing was put together including the entire history of O-ring erosion, field joints, nozzle joints back in February 1984 in the 51-E Flight Readiness Review and talked, of course, also about the 51-C experience.
And the conclusion in that presentation was that low temperature enhanced probability of blow-by. STS-51-C experienced worst case temperature change in Florida history.
Now, that turned out not to be presented in the Flight Readiness Review at Level I. Did you know about that and that conclusion?
MR. WEEKS: I don't think I knew about that specific thing you're reading from.
DR. KEEL: It was the preboard Flight Readiness Review to Marshall by Thiokol.
MR. WEEKS: No. Normally, I do not and have not in the 25 flights attended or listened on the network to Level III reviews.
DR. KEEL: So you were only principally in on the Level I Flight Readiness Reviews?
MR. WEEKS: Yes, sir.
DR. KEEL: So if this information wasn't passed up, you didn't know about it?
MR. WEEKS: No. I don't think that's a proper thing to say, sir.
DR. KEEL: Let me ask that same question again. What did you know about this briefing and this conclusion for 51-E?
MR. WEEKS: I don't recall how bad 51-E was. I don't recall it quite that way. The thing that I recall and triggered upon was the one that was the April 29th of 1985.
DR. KEEL: I was going to get to that next. I think that is what piqued your interest.
MR. WEEKS: But there were others.
DR. KEEL: What I'm trying to find out is if-Mr. Armstrong has asked, did you know more than what was being presented in these Flight Readiness Reviews back in January of 1984?
MR. WEEKS: Absolutely. Yes, sir. And that can be clearly shown if you look through our February 10th submission of what the director level-this is Mr. Winterhalter-brought to the AA.
DR. KEEL: I guess Mr. Armstrong's question then still stands. If you knew more, then why wasn't that communicated to Jesse Moore and to Arnie Aldrich who testified that they didn't know the level of
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: In fact, Mr. Aldrich said quite the opposite. He said he didn't remember at all. He was quite unaware that this problem had continued so long. And he also was quite unaware that there had been references to weather affecting the joint.
Your testimony is, it seems to contradict that.
DR. RIDE: He was also surprised that the problem wasn't tracked and worked to resolution through Level II; that it never appeared before his Level II board.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I presume you've read his testimony
MR. WEEKS: I have read his testimony.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Isn't his testimony quite contrary to what you're saying?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I, Dr. Ride, did not attend Level II FRRs either. So I don't know what he may have heard from Level III to Level II. I just don't know.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Well, let's be a little more direct. You've read his testimony and he said he was not aware of the serious nature of this concern. And he was head of Level II and he was in the decision making process. He said he was quite unaware of it, if you go
back and read his testimony.
Now, in answer to Mr. Armstrong's questions, I got the impression you didn't think there was anything wrong with the system at all. Everybody knew what everybody else was doing, and I gather you don't think the system of communications should be changed.
Is that right?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I think that most any system can be improved, but certainly there was no-I don't know what-I got more information through David Winterhalter and his people that is another loop that gives us information in Level I that does not necessarily get into the FRR Review.
DR. RIDE: Didn't it surprise you that there wasn't any activity on this problem coming out of Level II?
MR. WEEKS: Well, there was activity, Dr. Ride, going on at Level III in changing QM-5 and in changing the filament wound case qualification motor in terms of the O-ring and the separation of the O-ring, et cetera.
DR. RIDE: But aren't major Right problems in the Shuttle Program normally tracked and resolved through Level II? Isn't that where you would expect that problem to be resolved? And wouldn't you expect it
to come to the attention of Mr. Aldrich and expect him to be taking action on it?
MR. WEEKS: Well, that would be improvement, I believe. Yes.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Did you read Mr. Aldrich's testimony where he listed flaws in the system as he saw them and the ones that had to be corrected, and do you agree with what he testified to on that score?
MR. WEEKS: I can't recall all of his statements.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Well, we'll see that you get the testimony.
MR. KEHRLI: Were you aware that there was an active launch constraint that had to be waived, flight by flight after 51-B returned with the bad nozzle joint O-ring erosion problem?
MR. WEEKS: I know that at Level I we dispositioned the case of 51-B at the next launch and dispositioned the fact that the nozzle had erosion of both primary and secondary. I knew that, and we did disposition it.
MR. KEHRLI: Did you know there was a launch constraint?
MR. WEEKS: I did not know that there was a launch constraint.
MR. ACHESON: Mr. Weeks, the contractor certification documents for the pre-FRR certification documents indicate a routine checkoff and ready to fly from Thiokol for 51-L and a routine check off and ready to fly from Level III to Level II. And that undoubtedly is why Level II was unaware of any problems with the joints.
The parallel track of work that was dealing with the concerns on the joint seemed to have been known to Marshall and presumably got to Level I through the August headquarters review.
But, of course, Level II wasn't part of that either, and so you appear to have an FRR procedure that made no mention of these problems, presumably on the assumption that everybody knew about them because they had parallel paths of work going forward and Level II was not a party to any of those parallel paths of work. And so it was a system designed to freeze out Level II from any knowledge of the problem.
At least that is the way it strikes some of us. Doesn't that seem a little bizarre?
MR. WEEKS: The Flight Readiness Reviews in no way hid the fact that there was erosion on the O-rings time after time, starting in February of 1984, which was Flight 10, and many following that. And our basic
system at the Flight Readiness Reviews was to review all anomalies of the previous flight and we did so before proceeding with
DR. KEEL: Can I just follow that up? I think what's troubling us is not that there was erosion-everyone knew that-but the severity of it. And, for example, going back to the 51-E Flight Readiness Review and the briefing, the Flight Readiness Review that was done at the Project level, the Level III level, was an extensive briefing on the whole O-ring history. When it got up to Level I, and plus they drew the conclusion that temperature made it worse.
When it got up to Level I it basically was, in fact, winnowed down to one bullet entry that said evidence of hot gas past primary O-rings on two case joints. Concern: mission safety. Resolution: acceptable risk because of limited exposure and redundancy.
So that extensive review and history plus the concerns over the temperature effects got diluted down to that statement.
MR. WEEKS: I am sure that is true.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Can I ask a question? Maybe you have already answered, but I want to be sure that I heard it right. Were you aware of the constraints put on Flights 51-what are these numbers?
DR. RIDE: It is 51F and subsequent.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: All of those flights, that there were constraints on those?
MR. WEEKS: No, I was not.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Why wouldn't you be advised of that? If you were in the loop and you had been sort of dealing with this information, and you think the system is working pretty well, why wouldn't you know about launch constraints?
MR. WEEKS: Because I felt our system of FRRs, of bringing forward any anomalies of the previous launches was a pretty good system of us knowing of whether we have a problem or not.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: But in this case you not only brought them forth and decided a problem, you put constraints on it. And you said you can't fly unless there is a waiver, but you didn't know that.
MR. WEEKS: I did not know that.
MR. HOTZ: Well, wouldn't a launch constraint be brought up in the FRR?
MR. WEEKS: Yes.
MR. HOTZ: Particularly if it required a waiver?
MR. WEEKS: Yes, if it is a launch constraint, it is a Level 1 item.
MR. HOTZ: But apparently it wasn't brought up at these meetings.
MR, WEEKS: Now, it is possible, but it is the way it is looked at, and every anomaly has to be reviewed.
MR. HOTZ: But every anomaly is not a launch constraint, is it?
MR. WEEKS: Well, I think in the case of this O-ring they are blood brothers.
MR. HOTZ: But I am talking about other anomalies. Because you have an anomaly, it doesn't mean that everything has a launch constraint, right? It has to be a big anomaly to have a launch constraint.
MR. WEEKS: Yes.
CHAIRMAN ROGERS: We had testimony today that it is a very serious matter to have a launch constraint, and there were very few of them, and it was just these that were waived for about six or seven flights, and then they were ended just before Flight 51L.
Well, thank you. I think that is all. Thank.
you very much. And we would like to just have a quick session with the Commission before we end.
(Whereupon, at 5:20 p.m., the Commission was adjourned.)
[Please note that some of the titles to the references listed below do not appear in the original text. Titles are included to identify and clarify the linked references- Chris Gamble, html editor]
 [Ref.5/2-26 1 of 2] SRB Critical Items List. December 17, 1982.
 [Ref.5/2-26 2 of 2] SRB Critical Items List. December 17, 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-27 1 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982.
 [Ref.5/2-27 2 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-27 3 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-27 4 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-27 5 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-27 6 of 6] Thiokol's notes on Retention Rationale, SRM Simplex Seal. 1 December 1982. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-28 1 of 14] MSFC Change Sheet for Critical Items List- Solid Rocket Booster and Range Safety Command Destruct System. Change No 23.
 [Ref.5/2-28 2 of 14] MSFC Change Sheet for Critical Items List- Solid Rocket Booster and Range Safety Command Destruct System. Change No 23. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-28 3 of 14] MSFC Change Sheet for Critical Items List- Solid Rocket Booster and Range Safety Command Destruct System. Change No 23. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-28 4 of 14] MSFC Change Sheet for Critical Items List- Solid Rocket Booster and Range Safety Command Destruct System. Change No 23. (continued).
 [ [Ref.5/2-28 5 of 14] MSFC Change Sheet for Critical Items List- Solid Rocket Booster and Range Safety Command Destruct System. Change No 23. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-28 6 of 14] MSFC Engineering Change Request. Date: 12-21-82.
 [Ref.5/2-28 7 of 14] Distribution: Space Shuttle Configuration Management Office, NASA, JSC. Change Request: S22106L, SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement for SRM Case Joint Assemblies.
 [Ref.5/2-28 8 of 14] Distribution: Space Shuttle Configuration Management Office, NASA, JSC. Change Request: S22106L, SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-28 9 of 14] Space Shuttle Program Change Evaluation: Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. 2/14/83.
 [Ref.5/2-28 10 of 14] Space Shuttle Program Change Evaluation: Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. 2/17/83.
 [Ref.5/2-28 11 of 14] Space Shuttle Program Change Evaluation: Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. 2/16/83.
 [Ref.5/2-28 12 of 14] Space Shuttle Program Change Evaluation: Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. 3/1/83.
 [Ref.5/2-28 13 of 14] Space Shuttle Program Change Evaluation: Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. 3/17/83.
 [Ref.5/2-28 14 of 14] NASA's Authorization to Incorporate Requirements of Change.
 [Ref.5/2-29 1 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Level II Change Request. Change Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies.
 [Ref.5/2-29 2 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Level II Change Request. Change Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies. (continued).
 [Ref.5/2-29 3 of 12] Shuttle Program Level II PRCBD ( Program Requirements Control Board Directive) Concurrence.
 [Ref.5/2-29 4 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Requirements Control Board Directive - Level II. Change Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies.
 [Ref.5/2-29 5 of 12] Space Transportation System Level I Change Request. Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirements.
 [Ref.5/2-29 6 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Requirements Control Board Directive - Level II. Change Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies.
 [Ref.5/2-29 7 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Document Continuation Sheet.
 [Ref.5/2-29 8 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Document Continuation Sheet.
 [Ref.5/2-29 9 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Requirements Control Board Directive - Level II. Change Title: SRB Critical Item List (CIL) Requirement Change for SRM Case Joint Assemblies.
 [Ref.5/2-29 10 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Document Continuation Sheet.
 [Ref.5/2-29 11 of 12] Space Shuttle Program Document Continuation Sheet.
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12] Space Shuttle Program Document