Today in Labor History

Labor history is OUR history

March 19, 1981


Five Rockwell International workers are asphyxiated during a nitrogen purge of the engine compartment while setting up a ground test for the space shuttle Columbia. Two of them died. The technicians had been cleared by NASA safety supervisors to enter the compartment and a NASA board of inquiry concluded that a last-minute change in testing procedures, along with a breakdown in communications at the space center, caused the incident.

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