Challenger Case Analysis-Nasa

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• 1. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster • 2. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster At 11:38 am on January 28 th 1986, the 25 th Space Shuttle mission began with Challenger lifting off the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Approximately 73 seconds later, the Challenger was engulfed in a fireball. Seven crew members lost their lives. The high profile nature of the “Teacher in Space” mission required an independent commission to review the accident and risk management processes that were in place at NASA and associates at the time. The “Teacher in Space” Mission • 3. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster When the Apollo program finished in the 1970s, NASA had begun planning for the next phase of space exploration, an interplanetary expedition to Mars. This involved three core projects- A Space Shuttle- A reusable transport vehicle A Space Station- The launch platform Manned Mars exploration Due to budgetary constraints, only one of these NASA projects could be supported. The Space Station concept was favoured by President Nixon. However, this required the development of the Space Shuttle to support the project. The NASA Space Program after Apollo • 4. The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster An initial 1972 study by the Mathematica organisation found that the space shuttle could orbit payloads for as little as $100 US per pound, on sixty launches per year with the initial shuttle design specifications (69,000 pound payload capacity). This offered military, satellite deployment, scientific and medical research applications with a very cost effective option. However the Mathematica report was based on unrealistic costings provided by contractors to win NASA tenders. Additionally equipment performance shortfalls prevented the 109% of thrust required by NASA, further reducing payload capacities. The actual cost for payloads became 20 times the

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