Essay on The Space Shuttle Challengeri Disaster

20305 Words Apr 29th, 2016 82 Pages
The Space Shuttle
Challenger Disaster
I

On January 28,1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off the launch pad at 1 1:38
A.M., beginning the flight of mission 51-L.' Approximately seventy-four seconds into the flight, the Challenger was engulfed in an explosive burn and all comrnunication and telemetry ceased. Seven brave crewmembers lost their lives. On board the Challenger were Francis R. (Dick) Scobee (commander), Michael John Smith
(pilot), Ellison S. Onizuka (mission specialist one), Judith Arlene Resnik (mission specialist two), Ronald Erwin McNair (mission specialist three), S. Christa McAuliffe
(payload specialist one), and Gregory Bruce Jarvis (payload specialist two). A faulty seal, or O-ring, on one of the two
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NASA was in a state of disarray, especially in the management ranks. The agency had been without a permanent administrator for almost four months. The turnover rate at the upper echelons of management was significantly high, and there seemed to be a lack of direction from the top down.
Another reason for appointing a Presidential Commission was the visibility of this mission. This mission had been known as the Teacher in Space mission, and Christa McAuliffe, a Concord, New Hampshire, schoolteacher, had been selected from a list of over 10,000 applicants. The nation knew the names of all of the crewmembers on board Challengel: The mission had been highly publicized for months, stating that Christa McAuliffe would be teaching students from aboard the Challenger on day four of the mission.
The Presidential Commission consisted of the following members:

William P. Rogers, chairman: Former secretary of state under
President Nixon and attorney general under President Eisenhower.
Neil A. Armstrong, vice chairman: Former astronaut and spacecraft commander for Apollo 11.
David C. Acheson: Former senior vice president and general counsel,
Communications Satellite Corporation (1967-1974), and a partner in the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Dr. Eugene E. Covert: Professor and head, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Richard P. Feynman: Physicist and professor of theoretical physics at

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