Challenger Disaster Essay

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The Challenger Explosion NASA’s Space Shuttle Challenger originally was scheduled for launch on January 22, 1986. A crew of seven was assigned which included: Commander Richard Scobee, Pilot Michael Smith, and Mission Specialists Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Ronald McNair were astronauts. Gregory Jarvis, an aerospace engineer, and Christa McAuliffe a history teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, had been trained as a payload specialist. McAuliffe’s assignment—to teach elementary students from space—gave the Challenger a special aura. Officially known as Space Transportation System (STS) mission 51-L, became publicly known as the “Teacher in Space” mission, despite the scientific and technical assignments of the other crew members. According to plan, Challenger would be the first launch of 1986. There were two reasons that the space shuttle Challenger exploded—it had been plagued with mechanical problems from the beginning and the failure of an O-ring seal on its right solid rocket booster at liftoff. From the beginning, shuttle Mission STS 51-L was plagued by problems, and as the liftoff date neared, many things began to go wrong. The mission was put off several times for reasons ranging from problems with machinery to bad weather. The launch was delayed the next day by problems with the exterior access hatch. First, one of the microswitch indicators used to verify that the hatch was safely locked malfunctioned. Then, a stripped bolt prevented the closeout crew from removing a closing fixture from the orbiter’s hatch. When the fixture was finally sawn off, crosswinds at the Shuttle Landing Facility exceeded the limits for a Return to Launch Site (RTLS) abort. The crew waited for the winds to die down until the launch window finally ran out, forcing yet another scrub. Challenger and her seven-strong crew were doomed before they left the pad

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