Truth, Lies, and O-Rings
Author: Allan J. McDonald, James R. Hansen
Originally published in hardcover in 2009.
What they didn't want you to know "We all watched in shock and disbelief when Challenger was lost. Probably no one felt more disappointment and regret than Allan McDonald, who had warned us not to launch that day. His story tells of loss, grief, and the eventual rebuilding and recovery."--Robert "Hoot" Gibson, former Space Shuttle pilot and commander "A major contribution to a difficult episode in the history of human spaceflight."--Roger D. Launius, Division of Space History, Smithsonian Institution "McDonald tells the heartbreaking tale of how he saw his words of warning ignored, and the fateful consequences of that decision."--Donald C. Elder III, Eastern New Mexico University On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation's collective memory. In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA's Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission. Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.
Author: Michael Cabbage, William Harwood
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
On February 1, 2003, the unthinkable happened. The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated 37 miles above Texas, seven brave astronauts were killed and America's space program, always an eyeblink from disaster, suffered its second catastrophic in-flight failure. Unlike the Challenger disaster 17 years earlier, Columbia's destruction left the nation one failure away from the potential abandonment of human space exploration. Media coverage in the immediate aftermath focused on the possible cause of the disaster, and on the nation's grief. But the full human story, and the shocking details of NASA's crucial mistakes, have never been told -- until now. Based on dozens of exclusive interviews, never-before-published documents and recordings of key meetings obtained by the authors, Comm Check takes the reader inside the conference rooms and offices where NASA's best and brightest managed the nation's multi-billion-dollar shuttle program -- and where they failed to recognize the signs of an impending disaster. It is the story of a space program pushed to the brink of failure by relentless political pressure, shrinking budgets and flawed decision making. The independent investigation into the disaster uncovered why Columbia broke apart in the sky above Texas. Comm Check brings that story to life with the human drama behind the tragedy. Michael Cabbage and William Harwood, two of America's most respected space journalists, are veterans of all but a handful of NASA's 113 shuttle missions. Tapping a network of sources and bringing a combined three decades of experience to bear, the authors provide a rare glimpse into NASA's inner circles, chronicling the agency's most devastating failure and the challenges that face NASA as it struggles to return America to space.
When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them. In a new preface, Vaughan reveals the ramifications for this book and for her when a similar decision-making process brought down NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.
Discusses the events and circumstances that led up to the Challenger disaster of 1986, as well as the aftermath and cover-up by NASA and the White House.
Author: John Watts Young, James R. Hansen
The autobiography of astronaut John Young.
Author: Malcolm McConnell
On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Seventy-three seconds after launch, the fiery breach of a solid motor joint caused a rupture of the propellant tanks, and a stunned nation watched as flames engulfed the craft, killing all seven crew members on board. It was Hugh Harris, “the voice of launch control,” whom audiences across the country heard counting down to lift-off on that fateful day. With over fifty years of experience with NASA’s missions, Harris presents the story of the Challenger tragedy as only an insider can. With by-the-second accounts of the spacecraft’s launch and a comprehensive overview of the ensuing investigation, Harris gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the devastating accident that grounded the shuttle fleet for over two years. This book tells the whole story of the Challenger’s tragic legacy.
*Includes pictures *Profiles the origins of the mission and what went wrong *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents In the decades after the Apollo program, American space shuttles flew over 130 missions and successfully completed over 98% of them, but unfortunately, the two most famous missions were the ones that ended tragically aboard the Challenger and Columbia. The Space Shuttle Challenger was the most heavily used space shuttle in the three years it was operational, carrying the first minority astronaut and woman astronaut into space. Challenger was also the first space shuttle to complete a landing at night. On the morning of January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger launched for the 10th time, beginning mission STS-51-L. Space shuttles had already successfully completed 24 missions, and no American spacecraft had ever failed to reach orbit during an official mission. On this mission, the Challenger was carrying a satellite for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellites system, which was to be deployed in orbit. The crew included Ronald McNair, who had already been the second African-American in space, and Ellison Onizuka, who had already been the first Asian-American astronaut in space. But the highlight of the mission was to be the "NASA Teacher in Space Project," in which a civilian teacher would give teaching lessons to his or her class while onboard the space shuttle. The winner of the competition was Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher in Concord, New Hampshire, who wrote a winning essay and had to undergo a year of astronaut training before that fateful day. It was a beautiful morning, and many spectators came to the Kennedy Space Center to watch the launch, including McAuliffe's parents and her students. Several news networks were carrying live broadcasts of the launch, including live shots of McAuliffe's parents as they watched the Challenger liftoff. Mission Control's transmissions to the Challenger were being blared over loudspeakers to give spectators a play-by-play of the shuttle's ascent. Ascent seemed to be going normally during the first minute, but about 75 seconds into the ascent, a plastic O-ring used to seal a joint in one of the solid rocket boosters failed, causing a breach of hot gas. That gas spread to the other rocket booster and the external fuel tank, causing an explosion. When the spectators saw the explosion, many of them started cheering, unaware of what was really happening. But Mission Control quickly announced that there had been some sort of problem, and the crowd became confused and then panicky as the space shuttle, fuel tank and rocket boosters all broke apart and flew in opposite directions. Some cameras fixed on the falling debris as it fell to the ocean, while others stayed focused on McAuliffe's parents. The entire crew was killed in the explosion, and investigations concluded that they may have survived until crashing into the ocean. After the Challenger disaster, the space shuttles were grounded for about two years, and a commission issued findings that would be used in an effort to prevent similar tragedies. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: The History and Legacy of NASA's Most Notorious Tragedy chronicles the disaster from the origins of its mission to what went so terribly wrong. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about the Challenger like never before.
*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the disasters and government reports about them *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading The Apollo space program is the most famous and celebrated in American history, but the first successful landing of men on the Moon during Apollo 11 had complicated roots dating back over a decade, and it also involved one of NASA's most infamous tragedies. Landing on the Moon presented an ideal goal all on its own, but the government's urgency in designing the Apollo program was actually brought about by the Soviet Union, which spent much of the 1950s leaving the United States in its dust (and rocket fuel). In 1957, at a time when people were concerned about communism and nuclear war, many Americans were dismayed by news that the Soviet Union was successfully launching satellites into orbit. On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy addressed Congress and asked the nation to "commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." Given America's inability to even put a man in orbit yet, this seemed like an overly ambitious goal, and it isn't even clear that Kennedy himself believed it possible; after all, he was reluctant to meet NASA Administrator James E. Webb's initial funding requests. As Apollo 11's name suggests, there were actually a number of Apollo missions that came before, many of which included testing the rockets and different orbital and lunar modules in orbit. In fact, it wasn't until Apollo 8 that a manned vehicle was sent towards the Moon and back, and before that mission, the most famous Apollo mission was Apollo 1, albeit for all the wrong reasons. There were no delusions regarding the dangers of manned space travel, but they were brought home on January 27, 1967, when all three astronauts were killed by a fire that ignited in the cabin during a launch rehearsal. To this day, there is still debate over what ignited the fire, but the disaster made clear that the modules being used by NASA had a series of fatal flaws. In the decades after the Apollo program, American space shuttles flew over 130 missions and successfully completed over 98% of them, but unfortunately, the two most famous missions were the ones that ended tragically aboard the Challenger and Columbia. The Space Shuttle Challenger was the most heavily used space shuttle in the three years it was operational, carrying the first minority astronaut and woman astronaut into space. Challenger was also the first space shuttle to complete a landing at night. On the morning of January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger launched for the 10th time, beginning mission STS-51-L. Space shuttles had already successfully completed 24 missions, and no American spacecraft had ever failed to reach orbit during an official mission. Ascent seemed to be going normally during the first minute, but about 75 seconds into the ascent, a plastic O-ring used to seal a joint in one of the solid rocket boosters failed, causing a breach of hot gas. That gas spread to the other rocket booster and the external fuel tank, causing an explosion. When the spectators saw the explosion, many of them started cheering, unaware of what was really happening. But Mission Control quickly announced that there had been some sort of problem, and the crowd became confused and then panicky as the space shuttle, fuel tank and rocket boosters all broke apart and flew in opposite directions. Some cameras fixed on the falling debris as it fell to the ocean. The entire crew was killed in the explosion, and investigations concluded that they may have survived until crashing into the ocean. After the Challenger disaster, the space shuttles were grounded for about two years, and a commission issued findings that would be used in an effort to prevent similar tragedies.
Comprehensive, classic introduction to space-flight engineering for advanced undergraduate and graduate students provides basic tools for quantitative analysis of the motions of satellites and other vehicles in space.
Into the Black
Author: Rowland White
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
"Using interviews, NASA oral histories, and recently declassified material, [this book] reveals the dramatic untold story of the first space shuttle and the dedicated people who brought the United States into the next stage of space exploration"--Dust jacket flap.
Flirting with Disaster
Author: Marc S. Gerstein, Michael Ellsberg, Daniel Ellsberg
Publisher: Union Square Press
Analyzes major disasters in recent history and explains how their deep financial, emotional, and historical impacts could have been avoided.
The New York Times best-selling sequel to "Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!" One of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century, Richard Feynman possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and an unparalleled ability to tell the stories of his life. "What Do You Care What Other People Think?" is Feynman’s last literary legacy, prepared with his friend and fellow drummer, Ralph Leighton. Among its many tales—some funny, others intensely moving—we meet Feynman’s first wife, Arlene, who taught him of love’s irreducible mystery as she lay dying in a hospital bed while he worked nearby on the atomic bomb at Los Alamos. We are also given a fascinating narrative of the investigation of the space shuttle Challenger’s explosion in 1986, and we relive the moment when Feynman revealed the disaster’s cause by an elegant experiment: dropping a ring of rubber into a glass of cold water and pulling it out, misshapen.