The Challenger Accident

Essay by treetotallCollege, Undergraduate March 2004

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The space shuttle Challenger lifted off at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 11:38 A.M. on January 28, 1986, on shuttle mission 51-L. At just under 74 seconds into the flight, an explosion occurred, causing the loss of the shuttle and its entire crew, consisting of: Francis R. Scobee, Michael John Smith, Ellison S.Onizuka, Judith Arlene Resnik, Ronald Erwin McNair, Christa McAuliffe, and Gregory Bruce Jarvis.

Christa McAuliffe the 37-year-old schoolteacher from New Hampshire was, the first civilian to be selected for a shuttle Crew (carlos byars) and Gregory Jarvis was an engineer representing the Hughes Aircraft Company. The other five were members of NASA. In response to this tragic event, President Reagan said " it's a terrible thing", telling reporters "I just can't get it out of my mind, her husband, her children, as well as the families of the others on board" (carlos byars). He appointed an independent commission, This commission was composed of people not connected with the 51-L mission and was to investigate the accident fully and to report their findings and recommendations to the president.(

Davinder S. Mahal)The presidential commission found that the loss of the space shuttle Challenger and its crew was caused by a failure in the joint between the two lower segments of the right solid rocket booster. The destruction of the seals that were intended to prevent hot gases from leaking through the joint during take off. The commission also suggested that this joint failure due to a number of factors. These factors included the effects of temperature, physical size, the quality of materials, and reaction of the joint to dynamic loading. Launch day for the 51-L mission was an unseasonably cold day in Florida( Davinder S. Mahal). Those who made the decision to launch were unaware of...