SPACE SHUTTLE CHALLENGER DISASTER 1986
Geoffrey Price, engineering consultant
On 28 January 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its tenth mission, killing all five NASA astronauts and two payload specialists. President Ronald Reagan appointed the Rogers Commission to investigate the causes of the disaster. It found that design flaws in the O-ring seals in the right solid rocket booster failed at lift off. NASA’s organisational culture and decision-making processes had been contributing factors in allowing warnings and safety regulations to be disregarded. This lecture demonstrates why the Challenger disaster is used internationally in the study of engineering safety, the ethics of whistle-blowing, miscommunication, group decision making and the dangers of groupthink.