01 Jan 2010

Spaceflight Reviews Truth, Lies, and O-rings.

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Spaceflight, vol. 52, No. 1, January 2010

Truth, Lies and O-Rings – Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warning against doing so by many individuals. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moment after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In this book McDonald relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol Inc. makers of the Shuttle’s solid rocket boosters.

In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

This is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warning of very severe debris issues from the two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of the Columbia some 15 years later.

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