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CHALLENGER Chart of past launch problems

CHALLENGER Chart of past launch problems - flights with no...

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Could better graphic-design sensibilities have prevented the explosion? Probably. The Rogers Commission discusses this point indirectly in its five-volume report. It presents a chart of the data that Thiokol engineers used, and then shows what a more detailed chart would have presented. These charts follow; note how adding more data points allows you to see more clearly that warmer temperatures are usually much safer. What Thiokol engineers used on 1/27/86 A revised, better version by the Rogers Commission The Commission itself notes that the first chart does not show any real differences as the temperature changes. But, it goes on, "when the entire history of flight experience is considered, including "normal"
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Unformatted text preview: flights with no erosion or blow-by, the comparison is substantially different." In other words, it would be much harder to approve a launch at even lower temperatures after seeing the second chart. Yale political scientist and graphic-designer Edward Tufte has taken the argument even further in his book Visual Explanations. There, he re-designs the information and charts that Boisjoly and other Thiokol engineers had the night before the explosion, and it clearly shows how if they had had better graphic-design sense, they could have made their argument better and probably convinced the NASA center head to delay the launch until a warmer day....
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