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Challenger Disaster - Essay Example

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Running header: CHALLENGER ACCIDENT CASE STUDY Challenger Accident case study Challenger Accident case study Abstract When the space shuttle Challenger exploded over the Atlantic Ocean there was an immediate desire to understand the reasons for this disaster…
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Challenger Disaster
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Download file to see previous pages Initially asked is what could the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) management have done differently, was there anything the subordinates could have done differently? Additionally what could Joe Kilminster an engineer and the Vice President of Space Booster programs at Morton Thiokol (Aerospace Company in charge of the solid fuel rocket motors) have done differently and what could fellow co-worker Roger Boisjoly an engineer with Morton Thiokol have done differently and were there any additional detrimental factors? Is there a difference in the professional responsibilities of the engineers involved in relation to being employees and the need to protect the public? Additionally, we will identify other potential extenuating factors that may have had an effect on the decisions of those in charge to go ahead with the launch; additionally did the President or the Vice President of the United States have prior knowledge. Lastly, after examining the various contributing factors and problems as well as persons involved the decision will be made regarding NASA management’s decision making ability at this time. Challenger Accident case study Brief history of the Challenger disaster The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded over the Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday, January 28 1986; with its demise the lives of seven crew members were lost. The explosion which occurred 73 seconds after liftoff claimed the lives of the crew and destroyed the vehicle. The cause of the explosion was later determined to be an O-ring failure in the right solid rocket booster. Outside of human influences cold weather was also determined to be a contributing factor. (STS-51L, 2011 Para. 15) The Presidential Commission on the Challenger Accident was completed with recommendations on July 14, 1986 six short months after the accident occurred. On board the STS-51L shuttle designated, Challenger was Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair and Payload Specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe. McAuliffe was a High School teacher for the 10th-12th grades at Concord High School, Concord, New Hampshire. (Biographical Data, 2011) Her role was as a participant in the teachers in space program that President Reagan had initiated. The program was canceled as a result of her death and the Challenger accident; she was the first active participant and the last. She was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor posthumously. The others on the mission were also awarded medals or promoted posthumously as a result of the mission’s abrupt and deadly failure. Examining NASA’s liability Understanding the ethical responsibilities inherent with the NASA administration is important. In the ensuing media blackout directly following the event from NASA and the global frenzy of speculation in the media it became apparent that previously accepted approach of absolute secrecy regarding accidents with space going craft would need to be revised. Along with the media blackout that was standard operating procedure the events leading to the launch would need to be revised. According to NASA requirements any flight with technological problems was to be grounded. In July of 1985 Marshall Engineers had filed a formal constraint effectively grounding all future missions including 51-L (Challenger) based on problems with the motor nozzle joint. Apparently however, Marshall had failed to report the formal constraint to Level ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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