Space Shuttle Challenger Case Study

Satisfactory Essays
What happen the days before and day of the lunch?

It was a full year before Challenger was going to be launched; a major fault was discovered in the design of the solid rocket boosters (Stathopoulos, V. 2014). Did NASA use a flawed database in its decision to launch the Space Shuttle Challenger or did they mismanage the meeting with the Group Decision Support System (GDSS). NASA uses this system to make decisions when it comes to the space shuttles launches. The (GDSS) knew that the temperature was too low to launch (Forrest, J. 2005). Lawrence B. Mulloy, the NASA rockets engineer was one of few that were to blame for the loss of the Shuttle Challenger. Mulloy in conversations with Thiokol wanted the Challenger to take off. Mulloy told Thiokol '’My God, Thiokol, (Forrest, J. 2005)” “when do you want me to launch, next April? (Forrest, J. 2005).” Here are some of the NASA management team members that were in the meeting when that final decision to launch the challenger was made (Slideserve, n.d.).
• Marshall Space Flight Center - in charge of booster rocket development
• Larry Mulloy - challenged the engineers' decision not to launch
• Morton Thiokol - Contracted by NASA to build the Solid Rocket Booster
• Alan McDonald - Director of the Solid Rocket Motors Project
• Bob Lund - Engineering Vice President
• Robert Ebeling - Engineer who worked under McDonald
• Roger Boisjoly - Engineer who worked under McDonald
• Joe Kilminster - Engineer in a management position
• Jerald Mason - Senior Executive who encouraged Lund to reassess his decision not to launch.
During telephone conferences that were held with Thiokol, Marshall, and Kennedy Space Center to discuss whether the launch should be delayed, there were thirty-fo...

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...easier to blame the O-rings than to blame people for the disaster. There was a lack of communication and a sense of desperation from the managers to make sure the shuttle launched as they did not want any further delays. The challenger disaster was certainly avoidable, the warning signs were there but the people in charge did not heed them. Thiokol had an opportunity to steer clear of disaster during the meeting with (GDSS) before the launching of challenger. If the pressure to launch in combination with communication breakdowns had not occurred or had been managed better this disaster would not have happened. It seems that leadership was more concerned with public relations instead of being concerned with the problem of the O-ring. So, I believe that bad decision making on launching the Space Shuttle Challenger on the day of January 28 caused by human error.
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