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The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger - Essay Example

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The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger

This turned out to be the first blunder that led to the tragic incident. It happened to be the 10th mission for the Challenger Orbiter, while it was the 25th mission for the Space Transportation Systems (STS) and this proved a great challenge when considering the complexity of modern federal bureaucracy and relying on private contractors. The unfortunate Challenger seemed to take off normally, but after flying for about 73 seconds, the Mission Control did not receive any signal from it. Instead, just soon after the Challenger’s final radio signal, a blinding flash of light was seen by the people in the Mission Control room. This massive flash was actually the huge explosion and 2 destruction of the Orbiter and its fuel tanks, and its Solid Rocket Boosters that were blown into the air with the impact and hurtled down into residential areas. (Charles, T. pg. 110) The tragic disaster of the Space Shuttle Challenger, was considered to be the worst ever disaster that the United States space program experienced, because it had left all seven crew members dead including Christa McAuliffe, who was the “First Teacher in Space.” This financial loss of almost $ 2 billion left the world in a state of shock and made America lose their trust in NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Investigations on the disaster of Space Shuttle Challenger were carried out by the Presidential Commission who drew up the causes which were responsible. One of the chief findings of the Commission was that the pressure seal that joins the right solid Rocket Motor in the aft field had failed, causing the disaster. The faulty design was susceptible to many other factors which were unacceptable. These factors include – the quality and character of the material, physical wear and tear and the ‘reaction of the joint to dynamic loading.’ (Charles, T. pg.111) Besides finding out the technical fault, the Commission found that the process of decision making was to blame for the catastrophe, which could have easily been avoided if more caution was executed. Michael T. Charles’s study findings, further points to the lapse in the organizational setting which include such phenomena as pressured decision making, Congressional 3 funding, lucrative business contracts, the bureau- political discrepancies within and among NASA, including military and many other agencies of the government who are in competition for space dollars. Charles T. (pg. 111) points out that even though NASA, a governmental agency who has the responsibility of the development and management of this Space Shuttle Program and has such a good reputation, yet it became a part of the tragedy because the different departments are quite dependant on each other and therefore wrong interactions between them would have inevitably lead to the disaster. In addition, NASA is in collaboration with other private firm contracts to lend their support in the developing and designing of the STS. However, the contract of constructing the Solid Rock Boosters was given to a company called ‘The Morton Thiokol Corporation where the flaw which caused the disaster was found. Managerial responsibility was another drawback pointed out by the Commission, which also contributed to the mishap. A team of managers was placed in charge for different parts of the ...Show more


The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger Order No. 829508 In his report on ‘The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger’, Michael T. Charles highlights and pinpoints the reasons involved in the disaster of the Space Shuttle Challenger and investigates what was the actual cause for the disaster and those who were responsible for the massive tragedy…
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The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger essay example
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