Challenger Disaster Case Study

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On January 28th 1986 the space shuttle Challenger launched and exploded only 73 seconds into flight shocking the world and killing the crew of seven. This disaster left the NASA community and its various engineering teams baffled to explain the disaster and some not surprised; while all wanted answers to questions as to why and how this disaster could have occurred, while some already held the data on what could have been the factors for disaster. 2

Research performed indicates there were a number of communication problems both internally with NASA and their Engineering team at Morton –Thiokol Engineering that lead to the disaster in question, specifically poor communication between NASA and the Engineering firm Morton –Thiokol Engineering, the designer of the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB), that was discovered after the accident through analysis of existing and post launch data. More specifically this paper will discuss engineering concerns about O-ring design of the (SRB) brought to the attention of NASA
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Also concerning is the question of ethics and standards throughout the 12-year project including the communication discussing booster design by Allan MacDonald.

Furthermore, with the issues of booster parameter concerns prior to the final launch, I believe that there was a major clarity issue in reporting and presentation. Not to mention the misunderstanding between departments solidified by the Roger Commission, regarding the SRB temperature limits.

With respect to the use of completeness, both parties failed during the course of the 12-year project. Use of proper specification and details presented to all audiences at all times was not consistent. Also ensuring Challenger to be “operational” and not approved on Upper Management levels even after engineering issues were raised is

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