This essay Challenger has a total of 1114 words and 5 pages.
On January 26, 1986, one of
the greatest disasters of our time occurred. When Challenger was destroyed
many questions were asked about the safety of space missions. Many questions
were asked about the credibility of the engineers who designed the air craft.
It is now know that crucial information about the faulty O-rings was know
to many if not all of the engineers. These engineers had many moral decisions
they had to face when the problem was first noticed, which was as early as
When a shuttle is launched their are two booster rockets attached
to the side of it that disconnect when the shuttle gets into orbit. The rockets
that were on the Challenger were manufactured by Morton-Thiokol, an engineering
company. This company then sends the rockets to the launch site where they
are assembled. Where the different pieces of the rocket fit together, there
is a set of O-rings that make a seal around the booster. Around the O-rings
their is a putty substance that holds the O-rings in place. In November of
1981, after the flight of the second shuttle mission, the joints where examined,
and the O-rings were eroded.
The joints were still sealing effectively but
the O-ring material was decaying because of hot gasses that went through the
putty. At this point Roger Boisjoly an engineer for Morton-Thiokol started
researching different types of putty to reduce the corrosion on the O-rings.
After testing the O-rings in the laboratory it was found that they did not
return to their original size after being compressed at low temperatures.
Thiokol designed a set of billets that would hold the joint more firmly in
place. These billets were not ready on the day of the Challenger disaster
because they took too long to manufacture, and NASA did not want to delay the
The next tests took place in June of 1985 at Morton-Thiokol in
Utah. The primary seal on flight 51B which flew on April 29, 1985, was eroded;
"eroded in 3 places over a 1.3 inch length up to a maximum depth of.171 inches.
It was postulated that this primary seal had never sealed during the full
two minute flight."i It\'s at this point that Boisjoly knew he had to go to
his superiors about the problem. In August of 1985 Morton-Thiokol formed a
task force of engineers to solve the problem of the O-rings. This task force
only consisted of 5 engineers who could not solve the problem. NASA wanted
Thiokol to down play the problem because they were under a lot of pressure
due to competition.
The night before the scheduled launch of Challenger,
a teleconference was held between engineers and management from the Kennedy
Space Center, Marshal Space Flight Center in Alabama and Morton-Thiokol in
Utah.ii Boisjoly, and Ernie Thompson another engineer from Thiokol knew this
was their last chance to stop the flight from taking off. Robert Lund, Thiokol\'s
Engineering Vice President showed that 53 degrees "was the only low temperature
data Thiokol had for the effects of cold on the operational boosters."iiiBut
they had no data that did prove that it was unsafe to launch at lower temperatures.
Boisjoly and Thompson were unsuccessful in "blowing the whistle." The next
day the Challenger took of from the Kennedy space Center; "a rush of cotton-candy
like smoke washed over the cockpit windows, possibly accompanied by a brief
burst of brilliant orange flames. Almost simultaneously, the astronauts were
crushed down in their seats by a force at least 12 times greater than gravity."iv
After the disaster Boisjoly went to his office, where he stayed and thought.
Some of his colleagues came in to see how he was doing but he could not even
speak, he was so over come with emotion. Their were many factors that effected
neglecting the O-rings. For one NASA had a billion dollar contract with Thiokol
before the disaster and Thiokol felt that causing any problems by expressing
Boisjolys concern could jeopardize the contract. Boisjoly was an engineer and
according to a code of ethics I believe he should have followed, he should
have gone public with the information when NASA told them to down play the
problem. Along with his loyalty to Thiokol he also had a moral obligation
to the crew of the Challenger. A question he should have asked at the time
was "Would I let my wife or children ride in there?"
I believe that
Boisjoly did not do a good enough job in light of the model code of ethics.
I do not know if
Topics Related to Challenger
Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Roger Boisjoly, Challenger, Thiokol, O-ring, Criticism of the Space Shuttle program, Rogers Commission Report
Essays Related to Challenger
Apollo 4Apollo 4 Introduction This paper is going to compare the Apollo 1 and the Challenger disasters. Both space programs were unfortunate disasters, caused by a series of oversights and misjudgments. How did this lost of life occur in such a high tech environment? Apollo 4 On January 27, 1967, the three astronauts of the Apollo 4, were doing a test countdown on the launch pad. Gus Grissom was in charge. His crew were Edward H. White, the first American to walk in space, and Roger B. Chaffee, a naval
The Space ShuttleThe SpaceShuttle The shuttle, a manned, multipurpose, orbital-launch space plane, was designed to carry payloads of up to about 30,000 kg (65,000 lb) and up to seven crew members and passengers. The upper part of the spacecraft, the orbiter stage, had a theoretical lifetime of perhaps 100 missions, and the winged orbiter could make unpowered landings on returning to earth. Because of the shuttle\'s designed flexibility and its planned use for satellite deployment and the rescue and repair of pr
The Tragic Challenger ExplosionThe Tragic Challenger Explosion The Tragic Challenger Explosion Space Travel. It is a sense of national pride for many Americans. If you ask anyone who was alive at the time, they could probably tell you exactly where they were when they heard that Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the Moon. But all of the success in our space programs is overshadowed by tragedy. On January 28, 1986, one of the worst disasters in our space program\'s history occurred. Many people were watching at th
ChallengerChallenger On January 26, 1986, one of the greatest disasters of our time occurred. When Challenger was destroyed many questions were asked about the safety of space missions. Many questions were asked about the credibility of the engineers who designed the air craft. It is now know that crucial information about the faulty O-rings was know to many if not all of the engineers. These engineers had many moral decisions they had to face when the problem was first noticed, which was as early as Nove
ChallengerChallenger The American spaceshuttle, Challenger, has exploded killing all seven astronauts on board. The five men and two women - including the first civilian in space - were just over a minute into their flight from Cape Canaveral in Florida when the Challenger blew up. The astronauts\' families, at the airbase, and millions of Americans witnessed the world\'s worst spacedisaster live on TV. The danger from falling debris prevented rescue boats reaching the scene for more than an hour. In 25
Michael NostradamusMichael Nostradamus For centuries Nostradamus\'s prophecies have inspired fear and controversy. His followers say he predicted the French Revolution, the birth and rise of Hitler, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Did he, as his believers\' claim, predict some of history\'s most monumental events - from the Great Fire of London to the launch disaster of the spaceshuttleChallenger? Nostradamus was typical of the Renaissance time period. He made many prophecies and was a major contributo
The Space AgeThe Space Age The space age has brought about many human achievements. The space industry has been an important part of 20th century Florida because it has brought technology and jobs to Florida. Space exploration dates back to Jules Vernes\' book, From the Earth to the Moon, in which Florida is the launch site for a lunar exploration mission. The \'Space Race\' started on October 4, 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first man made satellite, Sputnik Zemli. Its name, roughly translated,
Challenger (STS-51L)Challenger (STS-51L) Theriault 1 NASA has believed that they have harnessed the power of mother nature and because they can get to the moon, they must be able to do nearly everything else as well. On January 28, 1986 mother nature won. In this report you will learn the main cause of the shuttles destruction, other problems regarding the launch, and the bureaucracy which killed seven people. Information about how America reacted to the disaster is also included. Problems on the Pad The shuttle tr
A Night To RememberA Night To Remember By, Walter Lord The new White Star Liner, Titanic, was not only the largest, but also the most glamorous ship in the world. The Titanic’s maiden voyage was set for New York, but unfortunately the ignorance of some of the crew members made the Unsinkable ship test its capabilities against huge icebergs. Only 705 survivors were picked up by her twenty lifeboats from the originally 2,207 passengers on board. This terrible disaster not only stayed in peoples minds throughout th
ChallengerChallenger It was a cold, crisp, and damp morning on the Florida Space Coast as the spaceshuttleChallenger raced through the sky at speeds approaching mach 2 at an altitude of 104,000 feet when something went perilously wrong. All of America watched, including the family members of the seven doomed crew members, as Challenger exploded into an expansive ball of fire, smoke and steam. An Oh. . . no! came as the crew’s final utterance from the shuttle as the orbiter broke-up. As the reality of
The 1980s The 1980s Conservative changes in the Courts Reagan appointed Sandra Day O\'Connor the first women to the Supreme Court William Rehnquist appointed chief justice Anthony Kennedy also appointed to the court. Culture of the 1980s Yuppies Young urban professionals Emphasis on making money and gaining material items New Consumerism Gap between rich and poor widened. Things were looking good for America In the 1980 Olympics the American hockey team ( which did not feature any NHL players) beat the R