Saturday, January 28, 2006

More Shuttle Challenger

In addition to Keryn's earlier post about the Challenger disaster, she pointed out some old NPR coverage on the subject. NPR has a page up with audio links to reports that aired in the 1980's about the causes of the disaster. The most interesting piece was a report by Daniel Zwerdling. In the report, we hear about the Thiokol engineers in a conference call with NASA telling them about their fears about the O-rings in low temperature. They explain how poorly the rings performed in 50 degree temperatures in the previous launch. The Challenger launch was in 30 degree weather. The engineers pleaded for the launch not to proceed. Their own managers overruled them and gave NASA the green light for the launch. It is quite a tragic study in organizational behavior.

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