Sunday, May 3, 2009
Ogden Man Recommended Against Challenger Launch
By Becky Wright
Allan McDonald broke into a cold sweat during the countdown to the space shuttle launch, then breathed a sigh of relief as it lifted off the pad.
Seventy-three seconds later, Challenger exploded.
“That was a shock I’ll never forget as long as I live,” McDonald said.
In the new book Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (University Press of Florida), the Ogden man tells of warning NASA officials that the solid rocket motor could explode at ignition if launched that day.
He also writes about efforts to cover up those ignored warnings, and the price he paid to expose the truth.
McDonald was director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton Thiokol Inc. in Utah, at the time. He was sent to Kennedy Space Center as the company’s senior management representative for the launch.
Truth, Lies and O-Rings isn’t just about what went wrong, but also about what went right. McDonald’s story also recounts his time leading the redesign of the solid rocket motor.