Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why the Loss of Challenger?

Courtesy of RenMan, we watched this video.

All of it (13 minutes) is interesting. But the good Ph.D. also tells us exactly why Challenger was lost, along with the lives of those aboard.

And it ain't pretty. It's at about 9:00 or so.


neomom said...

Politics and Congressional graft. Nice.

Jim said...

"The good PhD also tells us exactly why the Challenger was lost."

Challenger blew up because the solid rocket boosters were made in Utah? Then why didn't they blow up on the other 134 missions?

They didn't. The Challenger blew up because the launch was done in weather colder than safe operation required. Data from previous launches showed some degree of O ring damage or failure at low temperatures and a pattern was recognized. Engineers warned that the temperature was too low and advised against the launch.

Morton Thiokol management overrode the engineers recommendation in order to meet NASA's desire for an on-time launch.

Dad29 said...

You aren't familiar with root-cause analysis.

The failure happened BECAUSE there was an O-ring. The O-ring was there BECAUSE the rocket was in two parts. The rocket was in two parts BECAUSE it was manufactured in the wrong place: Utah.

All the rest is irrelevant.

Jim said...

All the rest IS relevant because the solid rocket boosters didn't blow up in 134 other missions.

It can be argued that it would have been better to not have a segmented booster. I'll give you that.

"And it ain't pretty". What? That one of hundreds of thousands of policy decisions turned out to be bad?

In the early days of Apollo, pure oxygen was used in the space capsule. Bad decision and three astronauts paid for it with their lives. Lessons were learned and changes were made.

What is the point of your post?

Tim Morrissey said...

Interesting debate here in the com-box; points to both sides.

BTW Pournelle's sci-fi books are quite good.

Anonymous said...

Ronnie Raygun wanted to launch. Fock the astronauts, they were expendable.