Space Shuttle Challenger

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On the morning of January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated in midair as the nation watched in disbelief and sadness. The cause of the Challenger accident was determined to be a system design failure on one of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) are a pair of large solid strap-on rockets that were utilized by NASA during the first two minutes of the Challenger’s Space Shuttle launch. The pair of SRBs was applied to provide an extra liftoff boost for the Space Shuttle during takeoff. Each SRB were located on each side of the external propellant tank of the spacecraft. Once they began to operate, “the boosters separate from the orbiter/external tank, descend on parachutes, and land in the Atlantic Ocean” (Wilson, 2006). NASA would then send ships into the Atlantic Ocean to retrieve the boosters. The boosters were refurbished so they can be used again. According to NASA officials, “the SRBs were the largest solid-fuel rocket motors ever flown, and the first to be used for primary propulsion on human spaceflight missions” (Wilson, 2006). During the time of preparation, NASA administration was very adamant about launching the Challenger because of “economic consideration, political pressures, and scheduling backlogs” (The Engineer, 2006). There were prior missions that were delayed due to various reasons associated with the weather and mechanical factors. Several mechanisms on the Challenger were not as suitable as they should have been due to decisions made during the design process. These decisions were determined by the lack of timely funding during the design and development process of the shuttle. However, when it came to the launch of Challenger, NASA wanted to press fo... ... middle of paper ... ...uld have never been launched by NASA. The proper analyses and testing should have been conducted to ensure that the SRBs were going to be safe for the launch. References Fritts, D. (2004, June 29). Testability on the Shuttle Program. Retrieved from http://www.testability.com/Reference/Tales.aspx?Story=Shuttle Lethridge, C. (2012). The Challenger Legacy. Retrieved from Spaceline-Covering the Past, Present and Future of Cape Canaveral - Challenger: http://www.spaceline.org/challenger.html The Engineer. (2006, October 24). The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. Retrieved from http://www.engineering.com/Library/ArticlesPage/tabid/85/ArticleID/170/The-Space-Shuttle-Challenger-Disaster.aspx Wilson, J. (2006, March 5). Solid Rocket Boosters. Retrieved from Space Shuttle: http://web.archive.org/web/20130406193019/http://www.nasa.gov/returntoflight/system/system_SRB.html
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