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Challenger Essay

Challenger Essay

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The Challenger disaster was on January 28, 1986. The Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger broke apart just 73 seconds into its flight. It was on a mission STS-51-L. All the seven crew members died. They included five astronauts from NASA and two Payload Specialists. It disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean. The location was off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida and the time was at 11:38 EST.

The disintegration of the Challenger started after its right solid rocket booster's O-ring seal failed to light. It caused a breach in the SRB joint. Hence, allowed pressurized burning in the motor to reach the outside hardware and external fuel tank. Finally, the Aerodynamic forces broke the orbiter. The recovery operation traced the crew compartment and other vehicle fragments (Schwartz, 1990).

No one knows the exact time of the death of the Challenger's crew. Some survived the first break-up of the spacecraft. However, the shuttle did not have an escape system plus the crew compartment's collision with the surface of the ocean was too violent. Therefore, no one could survive it. There was a 32-month hiatus after the disaster.

The Challenger's accident led to the formation of the Rogers Commission, which was to investigate the disaster. The results were that NASA's decision-making processes and organizational culture were some of the contributing factors. The managers knew that the SRB design was potentially catastrophic, but they failed to address it well. Also, they did not consider the engineers' warnings (Pinkus, 1997).

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