Ethical Argument On The Challenger

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To fully understand the disastrous event that was the ‘Challenger Shuttle Explosion’ and to fully understand the ethical point of view, we must first understand what the cause behind the entire mishap was. The explosion was attributed to a failure in the O-Rings, one of the components in the space shuttles SRB (Solid Rocket Booster). The function of the O-ring is to act as a seal and to entrap any gas or liquid that is liable to escape while the propellant is burning. In the case of the ‘Challenger’ the O-rings designed were designed to operate at a specific temperature and any temperature below this optimal working temperature would deem the O-rings function ineffective. Robert Boisjoly, who I would credit as our lead engineer identified the O-ring problem to us the management an entire year before the scheduled launch of the “Challenger” and regrettably I say that most of his advocation went unheard. In retrospect, I do indeed believe that we, the management team, should have taken his plea with the utmost respect and priority. In all fairness from a management’s perspective, when BoisJoly adamantly persisted in his pursuit of the rectification of the O-ring issue, temperature was not a primary factor in its failure, as was the case with the ‘Challenger Launch’. Nevertheless this does not justify the ignorance displayed by the management board and it definitely does not justify the ethical compromise that was made on that fateful night. On the ominous night, less than 13 hours to launch, the management team and the engineers were tense and the atmosphere was one of anxiety and panic, we needed to come to a decision and soon. After hours of debate, a tennis game of yays and nays, a brutal, endearing battle of facts and figures vs practicality between the managers and the engineers. The general manager then assertively turns to us and says “take off your

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