Chapter 3 Engineering Disasters

Aeronautical Disaster – Space Shuttle Challenger 1986

The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Published this ethics case study at YouTube on November 18, 2015
If you want to learn more about the ASCE you can access this award winning video “ASCE The Voice of the Civil Engineering Profession
In the video shown below,  Allan J. McDonald, former director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton Thiokol, discusses the events surrounding the destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger
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For more background on this disaster, you can access the following links:

Shuttle Challenger Explosion photograph from NASA Public Domain,


On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her seven-member crew were lost when a ruptured O-ring in the right Solid Rocket Booster caused an explosion soon after launch. This photograph, taken a few seconds after the accident, shows the Space Shuttle Main Engines and Solid Rocket Booster exhaust plumes entwined around a ball of gas from the External Tank. Because shuttle launches had become almost routine after twenty-four successful missions, those watching the shuttle launch in person and on television found the sight of the explosion especially shocking and difficult to believe until NASA confirmed the accident.

  Space Shuttle orbiter Challenger (OV-099) (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. 




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