I've been watching the PBS American Experience documentary, and they showed a brief clip of some accidents at NASA. One involved a capsule being carried on the back of a truck, on some kind of crane. As the truck is driving along the capsule comes loose and crashes down onto the road.

What capsule was this and what are the circumstances surrounding the accident?


enter image description here

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ It was a test and not an accident. Water landings were prefered, but some test werde done on ground. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Jul 17, 2019 at 20:31
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wow, the video right before this of the Little Joe rolling and breaking up is absolutely great. +1 just for that. Anyway, this is a boilerplate capsule that got dropped, as @Uwe says, as part of a test. Notice the truck full of people filming it. Not an accident. $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2019 at 21:07
  • $\begingroup$ Great. Feel free to turn that into an answer. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Jul 17, 2019 at 21:10
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a link to the complete video? $\endgroup$ Jul 17, 2019 at 21:11
  • 10
    $\begingroup$ Q: Nice capsule, where'd you get it? A: Fell off the back of a lorry. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 18, 2019 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


According to Apollo Experience Report: Spacecraft Structure Subsystem, NASA Tech Note D-7780, pp. 15-16, that capsule was either Command Module boilerplate BP-1 or BP-2, in a "landing impact test" sometime between 1962 and 1964.

The Block I landing impact test program consisted of numerous impacts of boilerplate test vehicles on both land and water. These drop tests began in 1962 and used BP-1 and BP-2 as test articles. These boilerplate vehicles were not structurally similar to the spacecraft but could be classified as rigid-body vehicles. The drop tests had the following objectives.

  1. To evaluate crew shock attenuation system at land impact
  2. To evaluate vertical and transverse acceleration loads at land impact
  3. To determine and evaluate the stability and dynamics of the vehicle
  4. To evaluate g-forces on the primary structure and simulated crew couch
  5. To confirm preliminary criteria and determine if any new conditions existed

In the spring of 1964, it was decided that the spacecraft would only land on water. At that point, the impact test regime was changed to exclusively impacts with water, using boilerplate BP-28, which was a better model of the actual CM.


It was one of many Apollo boilerplate drop tests.

enter image description here

See this page for many more drop test images.

Some images of boilerplates 1, 2.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.