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Challenger What went wrong Boisjoly and O-Rings

Challenger What went wrong Boisjoly and O-Rings - 1...

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In class, we'll chat about engineering ethics in light of the Challenger O-Rings. Please read pp 1-7 (lots of pictures, easy reading) then skim the links below if you want to know more about the controversy: Want to read more about Challenger?   VISIT  http://www.newsaic.com/mwchallenger.html for a simple overview of the Challenger incident (not a scholarly or peer reviewed source) VISIT  http://history.nasa.gov/rogersrep/genindex.htm for the official report to the President from the experts ____________________________________________________________________________ Sources: Report to the President by the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Photographs adapted from pages 112, 52, and 57 of the Presidential Commission Report. http://onlineethics.org/moral/boisjoly/rocket.html CHALLENGER What Went Wrong Why was Roger Boisjoly so concerned about O-Rings? These seemingly insignificant pieces of rubber played a critical role in the joints between segments of a solid rocket boster ( SRB ). The two SRBs attached to a space shuttle orbiter provided eighty percent of the thrust necessary to propel the shuttle into space. About two minutes after a normal launch, the SRBs would detach and parachute back to the ground to be reused in subsequent missions. Several cylindrical segments make up the 149.1-foot- (45.4-meter-) tall SRB. Each joint between these segments contains two O-rings, positioned concentric with the SRB. The O-rings must be in perfect condition to prevent hot gasses from leaking through the joints of the SRB. 1
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The Challenger: What Went Wrong Within a second of the launch of Challenger on January 28, 1986, the first signs of failure of a joint in the right SRB were visible. Puffs of black smoke, whose color suggested that 5800-degree gases were eroding the O-rings, spewed out of that joint three to four times each second. At the end of the first minute, a small but steady flame was evident.
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  • Spring '09
  • minor
  • Space Shuttle Challenger, Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster, shuttle Challenger accident, SRM O-Ring Erosion/Potential

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