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The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster - Assignment Example

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The accident led the deaths of all the seven crew members comprising five astronauts and two playload specialists. The spacecraft…
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The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
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Download file to see previous pages In this paper, the author describes and comments on the various aspects of the accident. First, the author describes the events leading to the explosion. Next is a discussion of the main causes of the accident. Next, the author describes the steps that could have been taken to avert the accident. After that, a description of the prevailing culture within NASA is provided, accompanied with a discussion of how that culture might have impacted the decisions of NASA engineers and staff. The author then comments on the management of NASA and how the institution implements its systems and procedures. Finally, the author sums up the main points of the paper.
Initially, Challenger had been scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Centre (KSC) in Florida on January 22 at 14:42 Eastern Standard Time (EST). However, the launch did not happen as had been planned due to delays in the preceding mission, STS-61-C(McConnel, 1986). Consequently, Challenger launched was pushed forward to January 23 then January 24. The launch was once more moved to January 25 owing to unfavourable weather conditions at the Transoceanic Abort Landing (TAL) centre in Dakar, Senegal. NASA decide to use Casablanca as an alternative TAL, but because it lacked facilities for night landings, the launch was once more rescheduled for the morning of January 26, Florida time.
Then, it was predicted that the weather at KSC would be unfavourable, so the lift-off was moved to January 27 at 9:37 EST. Again, the launch failed to take off due to problems registered in the exterior access hatch. By the time engineers solved the problems, the wind speed had increases substantially such that a launch was impossible. It was under these circumstances that the launch eventually happened on January 28, even though weather forecasts had predicted an unusually cold morning with temperatures close to -10C, the lowest possible temperature at which a launch may happen. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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