Timeline of Events and Causes of the Challenger Space Shuttle Accident

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Timeline of events and causes of the Challenger Space shuttle accident

In 28 January 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger was launched for the Last time and exploded less than 2 minutes after the lift-off resulting in the deaths of all seven crew members on board (Space shuttle challenger: Wikipedia, 2006).

The failure of the solid rocket booster o-rings was attributed to several factors, including faulty design of the solid rocket boosters, insufficient low temperature testing of the O-ring material and lack of communication between different levels of NASA management.

A timeline of the events leading up to the explosion of the Challenger Space shuttle:

(Times in EST)

January 22 [3:43 p.m.]Lift-off was initially scheduled on this date

January 25Delayed again due to bad weather; launch postponed for one day. Re-scheduled for Jan 27, [9:37 a.m. EST].

January 27Delayed for another 24 hours when ground servicing Equipment hatch closing fixture could not be removed fromorbiter hatch.

January 28 [11:38 a.m.]Space shuttle Challenger finally lifts off

[11:39:13 a.m.]Space shuttle challenger explodes in mid-air

(Space shuttle challenger: Wikipedia, 2006)

NASA managers were anxious to launch the Challenger for several reasons, including economic considerations, political pressures, and scheduling backlogs (ethics: education, 2003).

It is important that these managers do not ignore their own engineering experience, or the expertise of their subordinate engineers. Often a manager, even if she has engineering experience, is not as up to date on current engineering practices as are the actual practicing engineers.

Another issue is the fact that managers encouraged launching due to the fact that there was insufficient low temperature data. Since there was not enough data available to make an informed decision, this was not, in their opinion, grounds for stopping a...
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