NASA Accidents Quiz

By: Nathan Chandler

NASA Accidents Quiz
Image: Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Spaceflight is a risky endeavor for both man and machine. How much do you know about these NASA mishaps?
What weather event affected Apollo 12 during a 1969 launch?
lightning
Less than a minute after takeoff, two lightning strikes damaged onboard components.
high wind
hail

Advertisement

In 1991, what happened to astronaut Jay Apt as he performed a spacewalk?
He nearly drifted away.
His suit was punctured.
He was lucky that the puncture was tiny, otherwise his life could have been in danger.
He spun out of control.

Advertisement

Mission STS-51-L refers to which mission?
1988 Atlantis mission
1986 Challenger mission
The ill-fated mission is one of NASA's most public tragedies.
1983 Columbia mission

Advertisement

In what year did the Apollo 1 tragedy occur?
1964
1967
As it stood on the launch pad, the craft caught fire and killed all three crew members.
1969

Advertisement

What started the Apollo 1 fire?
stray sparks from repair work
an engineer's cigarette
electrical wiring
In the pure oxygen environment, a spark quickly led to catastrophe.

Advertisement

What was the likely cause of death for the Apollo 1 crew?
suffocation
With their space suits damaged, they were unable to survive the toxic fumes in the cabin.
burns
head trauma

Advertisement

In which year did astronauts develop immediate pneumonia after being exposed to toxic gas during an Apollo Soyuz test project?
1971
1975
Oxygen masks saved their lives, but they were all sickened by exposure to nitrogen tetroxide gas.
1978

Advertisement

How did the first black astronaut perish?
car accident on the way to base
training crash
He ejected from his crashing jet, but the parachute failed to open.
accident on the Space Station

Advertisement

In 1993, which space shuttle experienced an accidental explosion while in orbit?
space shuttle Discovery
The explosive devices were intended to release a satellite, but only one set was meant to go off; instead, the backups exploded, too.
space shuttle Atlantis
space shuttle Challenger

Advertisement

In 1971, how many of Apollo 15's landing parachutes failed?
one
If a second had failed, the craft might well have been destroyed on impact.
two
three

Advertisement

In 1999, an electrical short affected which component on the space shuttle Columbia?
autopilot controls
engine controllers
Backup controllers immediately engaged, a perfect example of why NASA uses lots of redundancy in its systems.
fire suppression systems

Advertisement

How many astronauts died when the shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986?
four
seven
This included a school teacher (Christa McAuliffe) who was selected especially for the mission.
eight

Advertisement

True or false: Some members of the Challenger crew were still alive when the craft struck Earth.
true
Evidence shows that they were alive and perhaps conscious as Challenger plunged.
false

Advertisement

What caused the Challenger accident?
flaws on the body panels
pilot error
failed O-rings
O-ring failure led to a disaster seen live on televisions around the world.

Advertisement

In 1966, where did Elliot See and Charles Bassett crash during a NASA training flight?
Florida
Texas
Missouri
Foul weather caused them to crash right into a nearby aircraft manufacturing facility.

Advertisement

Which vehicle spun out of control due to a thruster failure?
Apollo 13
Gemini 8
But Neil Armstrong, ever the hero, managed to regain control before disaster struck.
Apollo 12

Advertisement

Laurel B. Clark was aboard which spacecraft when it failed?
space shuttle Columbia
She was one of seven people to perish on the ill-fated mission.
space shuttle Challenger
space shuttle Atlantis

Advertisement

Other than the United States, what other nationality was represented during the last mission of space shuttle Columbia?
English
Israeli
Ilan Ramon was teamed with the six Americans who died during the Columbia disaster.
French

Advertisement

The largest ground search in history was conducted in order to find debris from which spacecraft?
space shuttle Columbia
Volunteers from all over the country arrived to help NASA recover its fallen shuttle.
space shuttle Challenger
Apollo 15

Advertisement

What year was the space shuttle Columbia destroyed?
2002
2003
The shuttle was returning from a successful mission when it was destroyed in 2003.
2004

Advertisement

Where did most of the debris from Columbia land?
Texas and Louisiana
Debris from the craft was found in more than 2,000 different locations.
Gulf of Mexico
Florida and Alabama

Advertisement

What caused the Columbia to break up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere?
warped bolts
cracked windows
damaged heat shields
The damage occurred during takeoff; the problem was one already recognized by engineers.

Advertisement

During the 1970 Apollo 13 mission, what happened to the engine during launch?
It shut down early.
This was just the beginning of a troubling series of events on the Apollo 13 mission.
It nearly broke apart.
It ruptured and leaked fuel.

Advertisement

In what year was a 4-foot (1-meter) piece of space shuttle Columbia found in a Texas lake?
2013
2012
2011
Engineers have yet to even identify tens of thousands of other pieces already in their possession.

Advertisement

In 1961, what happened to the Liberty Bell 7 capsule as it landed?
The hatch opened at the wrong time.
The hatch let in ocean water, and astronaut Gus Grissom barely escaped drowning.
The parachute failed.
It was crushed on impact.

Advertisement

What equipment problem ended Apollo 13's chances of reaching the moon (and nearly killed the crew)?
hydraulic system failure
electrical fire
oxygen tank failure
Although the mission technically failed, it became a testament to the ingenuity and resolve of astronauts and their ground support systems.

Advertisement

True or false: Space shuttle Columbia's crew was conscious as it plummeted toward Earth.
true
false
Fortunately, cabin depressurization meant they were not awake to witness their fall towards the ground.

Advertisement

In 1983, how many people were hurt when hydrazine leaked and caused a fire during the last minutes of space shuttle Columbia's mission?
zero
Nobody was hurt, but the damage occurred during the shuttle's landing approach and could have caused a catastrophe.
one
three

Advertisement

During the 1969 Apollo 12 mission, which object slammed into astronaut Alan Bean, giving him a concussion?
food container
oxygen canister
video camera
This accident happened during splashdown, meaning Bean had immediate access to medical care.

Advertisement

Why did Theodore Freeman die after ejecting from his jet during a 1964 training routine?
He was too close to the ground.
The crash happened because a goose was sucked into the engine, causing both engines to fail.
His parachute failed.
The ejection system failed.

Advertisement

You Got:
/30
Bob Pearson/AFP/Getty Images

Featured