Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

in-flight breakup of the Challenger space shuttle in US

Space Shuttle Challenger was a Space Shuttle orbiter launched by NASA on 28 January 1986. 73 seconds into Challenger's flight, the shuttle broke apart after the seals in the right rocket booster failed. Challenger exploded 14 kilometres over the Atlantic Ocean. All seven crewmembers perished in the explosion.

The flight and explosion of Challenger leave white contrails in an otherwise clear sky.

Quotes about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

  • It is our responsibility to find the direct and proximate causes of the accident, and to make recommendations on how to avoid such accidents in the future. Unfortunately we have found, as the proximate cause, very serious and extensive "flaws" in management. Not just a crack but a general disintegration. Our report lists them with our evidence for our view. This raises serious problems for our nation as to how to continue on with the space program.

    It is our duty to supply … information as completely, accurately, and impartially as possible. We have laid out the facts and done it well. The large number of negative observations are a result of the appalling condition the NASA shuttle program has gotten into. It is unfortunate, but true, and we would do a disservice if we tried to be less than frank about it. The President needs to know if he is to make wise decisions.

    At this rate [due to bureaucratic interference] we will never get down close enough to business to find out what happened. [T]omorrow at 6:15 we go by special airplane (two planes) to Kennedy Space Center to be "briefed." No doubt we shall wander about being shown everything—gee whiz—but no time to get into technical detail with anybody. Well it won’t work. If I am not satisfied by Friday I will stay over …. I am determined to do the job of finding out what happened ….

    My guess is that I will be allowed to do this overwhelmed with data and details, with the hope that so buried with all attention on technical details I can be occupied, so they have time to soften up dangerous witnesses etc. But it won’t work because (1) I do technical information exchange and understanding much faster than they imagine, and (2) I already smell certain rats that I will not forget because I just love the smell of rats for it is the spoor of exciting adventure.