The Cause Of The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

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In 1986 when the space shuttle Challenger launched from Kennedy Space Center people watched in awe for a little more than a minute before the shuttle exploded in flight. This was the first of only two major accidents that occurred during over two decades of NASA’s shuttle program. Many would consider the Challenger disaster to be a fluke that could not have been prevented or predicted but, In truth, it was an accident waiting to happen and was a symptom of systemic problems that were occurring at NASA during that era. The 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster was cause by a number of factors including structural failure of the shuttle, a change in NASA’s work environment from the days of the successful Apollo missions, and additional pressure on the space program, already lacking resources, to push the envelope farther, faster, and cheaper. The first and most obvious cause in the challenger disaster was the booster rocket, but it wasn’t just an isolated incident. The problems with the solid rocket booster started before it was ever built by Morton Thiokol Inc. People who remember the challenger explosion will remember weeks of reviews by the media focusing on the booster and the part it played in the Challenger’s mid-air explosion. As detailed in the Report to the President by the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident published by the United States Government after a six month investigation into the cause of the challenger disaster, puffs of smoke were seen coming from the lowest segment of the right solid rocket booster shortly after liftoff (United 19). Smoke became fire igniting the main fuel tank and the lower joint joining the booster to the main fuel tank released the booster partially causing ... ... middle of paper ... ... bad solid rocket booster seal. The events and circumstances that led contributed to the Challenger disaster mostly have to do with human error. If a company had been chosen to build the booster based on the actual merits of their design instead of cost then it is possible that the booster would never have caused the shuttle to fall apart. If manager had made decisions based on the safety information that was available to them or if a lone engineer had chosen to go outside the organization and speak about the shuttle’s safety issues then the shuttle launch would have been delayed. Moreover Administrators should have asked the pertinent “can NASA actually launch 12 or 24 shuttles per year with the current resources?” then the flight rate would have stayed low until NASA was ready to grow. In the end people caused the Challenger disaster and blamed it on a booster.
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