Technical Investigation of 11 January 1985 PERSHING II Motor Fire,
ARMY MISSILE COMMAND REDSTONE ARSENAL AL
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This paper describes the result of an accident investigation. The accident occurred near Heilbronn, Federal Republic of Germany, on January 11, 1985. A PERSHING II first stage motor burned as result of efforts to remove it from its shipping container and place it on an erector launcher EL. Several possible causes of the motor ignition were considered during the course of the investigation. These were crew error, incorrect procedures, sabotage, failure of mechanical part, electrical short circuits, propellant defects, failure of other components mounted in the motor, and electromagnetic effects radio frequency radiation, lightning, and electrostatic discharge ESD. All of these possible causes except ESD were eliminated from further investigation efforts because they were an unlikely, highly unlikely or impossible cause of the accident. ESD was determined to be the only plausible explanation for the accidental motor burning.
- Solid Propellant Rocket Engines
- Safety Engineering