The Space Shuttle Challenger – Ryan Lane
After reading over a few of the cases we have looked at in this class the one that really stood out to me was the case about the Challenger. The shuttle exploded 73 seconds after liftoff and all 7 members of the crew were killed. It was discovered that the reason the shuttle exploded was because of a burn through the O-ring sealing two sections of the solid rocket booster.
The night before the launch the engineers were very opposed to launching this shuttle because they knew the low temperatures would cause the O-ring seal to fail. Memos were written by engineers working for Thiokel stating that this O-ring is extremely unsafe and that they highly recommend not launching. Thiokel engineers brought their concern to NASA, who eventually decided to go ahead with the launch. The engineers were overruled by their managers and they signed off on the launch. Well, we all know what happens next…..
What really bothers me about this is that NASA knew how dangerous this launch would be and still went ahead with it. The engineers also knew how much of a risk this launch was and still let NASA tell them what to do. Do the people at NASA, apparently the smartest people in the world, have no morals at all? They used the crew members lives as pawn pieces in a mission they felt they had put way too much time and money into to take a little longer into fixing the problem with the shuttle. I really wonder what the crew member families thought when the reports of this surfaced. Giving the families money does not buy their loved ones life back and it really is a shame that NASA is still a respected organization after hearing about this. Sending people into space is already dangerous enough, but sending people into space knowing that the shuttle could be faulty? Crazy if you ask me.