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On January 28th 1986 one of NASAs most catastrophic events happened 73 seconds into the flight when Commander Francis Scobee, pilot Michael Smith, and the other five crew members of The Challenger blew up in the sky after liftoff.
1983 was when The Challenger was built and was launched nine times successfully before the event happened causing it to blow up in 1986. The flights were successful and the people in charge of the other flights had been more conscious about things such as ice, or wind, or when something needs to be replaced or repaired. The Challenger didn’t just blow up because of the O-Rings, but because of the poor actions by NASA that led up to all the problems with the shuttle. Some of the problems leading up to this was delays in launch schedule, and when they had the safety check up the solid rocket boosters were not discussed. When it came to launch day the solid rocket boosters was one of the things that went wrong after the launch.
The main objective of the Challenger was to put a tracking and relay satellite into orbit. But most people looked at the main objective as Christa McAuliffe who was going to be the first teacher in space ever. She was a high school social studies teacher at Concord New Hampshire. There were some people who warned the person in charge of the challenger about potential risk that could lead to something but he didn’t listen and all those things that went wrong are what caused the shuttle to blow up. After The Challenger blew up the president Ronald Reagan had a response to it explaining what went wrong and what changes are going to be made to NASA to insure that something like this would not happen again.
My reaction to The Challenger was shocked, I was surprised at the lack of NASA and how they weren’t discussing everything. I was also shocked on how they took serious things so light because they all can add up to make an event like this. The first thing I thought was wrong was how they weren’t discussing as much as they should, for an example. When the solid rocket boosters weren’t discussed, because if these were discussed and the O-rings would’ve been replaced there wouldn’t have been a problem with the shuttle causing it to blow up. But my reaction to when I found out that the biggest cause of the problem was lack of communication, because it was that, that caused the most damage because if they would have talked about everything then most likely nothing would have happened.
Thiokol who was the man working for NASA at the time recommended that the launch should be delayed since the temperatures below 53°F. After internal discussions in the Thiokol group, senior management eventually began the launch even after being recommended not too due to weather, reversing their original decision. Rockwell, the shuttle’s primary contractor, did not support the launch due to the possibility of ice leaving the structure and damaging the thermal shield tiles during takeoff. But NASA chose to continue with the launch anyways.
One single person cannot be held accountable for the challenger disaster. Responsibility falls on the managers at NASA and Thiokol I believe. These are the people who made the decision to launch challenger and where the ones with the authority and power. They did not listen to or take any real notice of the engineers at Thiokol who are the experts in the area and have the knowledge of the rocket boosters. There was a lack of communication and a sense of desperation from the managers to make sure the shuttle launched as they did not want any further delay. Communication was considered to be an issue since the engineers were not able to convince the management team at NASA to stop the launch of the space shuttle. It was very evident from the initial time that the management at Marshal Space Centre contained already known problems and they were trying to resolve them internally instead of communicating them further.
There were some strong forces of reason and emotions which influenced the decision to proceed with the launch. The highly visible public display of NASA success was also one of the reason they included many minorities in the group. NASA just wanted to go ahead with the launch with Christa McAuliffe in the team, which made this space launch special. The US president was due with his assembly speech, which also somewhat forced NASA to go ahead with the launch. There was huge media pressure as the launch had been cancelled several times before. There was also the lack of leadership in the organization as there was really no one with the courage to make the right decisions.
The challenger disaster was certainly avoidable, the warning signs were there but the people in charge ignored them. The engineers knew there was a problem with the O rings and many attempts were made to communicate this but management did not want to listen to the engineers as it was something they did not want to hear because they didn’t want to spend more money. NASA also could have stopped the launch but because they had already delayed the launch twice but management were under pressure to not delay any further.
In conclusion The Challenger had many things go wrong with it and in my opinion if they would have just took the extra step for some safety measures then it could’ve been avoided.

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