The Space Shuttle Challenger

1683 Words Dec 8th, 2016 7 Pages
The significant engineering failure that will be analyze is the Space Shuttle Challenger. In 1986, the Challenger faced many launch delays. The first delay of the Challenger was due to the expected weather front and presence of the Vice President (ENGINEERING.com). Since rain and cold temperatures were expected to move into the area, they didn’t want the Vice President to make unnecessary trips. However, the launch window became perfect weather conditions since the weather front stalled. The second delay was due to a defective microswitch in the hatch locking mechanism. By the time the problem was fixed, the winds became too high and the weather front had started to move again.
Due to these delays, the night before the launch, there was a teleconference between engineers and management from Kennedy Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, and Morton-Thiokol in Utah (ENGINEERING.com). This teleconference was to investigate whether the challenger was safe to launch with the predicted temperatures of low 20s. Due to inconclusive data and having no low-temperature data below 53°F, the managers recommended the launch to continue and not be delayed. Temperatures dropped to about 8°F the night before launch. On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle challenger broke apart after seventy-three seconds from launch (History.com). This catastrophic event killed the entire crew in Challenger while traumatizing the nation and throwing the NASA’s shuttle program into turmoil.…
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