Date: 2021 | Photo by: Chris Griffith

In 1966, this boilerplate was requested by NASA engineer John H. Kimzey for use as a test chamber for fire extinguisher tests. The boilerplate was modified so it could be filled with pure oxygen at various pressures. Immediately following the Apollo 1 fire in 1967, BP-K was modified again for small scale flammability tests of materials and components. This was to recertify all new materials before Apollo spaceflights could resume.

After testing for the Apollo program concluded, BP-K was modified once again for radiant heat testing of the Space Shuttle Thermal Protection System, including the spacecraft’s insulation tiles. These tests were done using BP-K through 1983.

Over the years, the boilerplate’s original serial number has been forgotten, so it continues to be known as BP-K, the unofficial designation given by the engineers who worked with Kimzey in the mid-1960s. When its use in testing programs ended, BP-K was refurbished for public display. Some of the pipes and flanges were left in place to preserve its history as a test chamber. BP-K rests here to honor the efforts of engineers at Johnson Space Center. —From the plaque next to it.

Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas

Older Display

Location: National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.
Date: 2014
Photos by: Chris Griffith