Challenger Ethical Case Study

Challenger Ethical Case Study - Prof Richard Wilson PHIL...

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Prof. Richard Wilson PHIL 251 – 1 November 16, 2009 Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster: Ethical Case Analysis Case Recap Established as an organization in 1958, NASA has been affluent in conducting successful space missions, but disparaged for its failures. The Challenger Space Shuttle disaster proved to be a key for its belittlement. On Jan 28 th , 1986, space shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into flight, after an O-ring in the shuttle’s right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed to seal. O-rings leave their ruts and seal themselves into place on lift off while hot gas leaks into the SRB. On the day of the launch, the O-rings had hardened due to cold temperatures, causing a prolonged sealing process. Hot gas from the rocket motor infringed the SRB joint that was expected to be sealed and caused major breaches in the other SRB attachment hardware, separating its aft attachment while causing external fuel tank failures. This unprecedented catastrophe led to the creation of the Rogers Commission to investigate the event and an immediate grounding of all missions for two years. The incident could have been avoided if NASA managers had accounted for Morton Thiokol’s O-ring failures from pervious missions and considered the dangers of launching at cold temperatures as suggested by Rockwell engineers. These communication difficulties coupled with O-ring failures in cold temperatures contributed into making this mission unsuccessful and unethical in numerous ways. Stakeholders
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We analyze stakeholders from NASA’s perspective. This perspective is the most important because the case’s technical problems are most associated with the administration. Primary stakeholders are ones who have had an immediate impact/influence from Challenger’s disintegration. Other/Secondary stake holders are those who have no direct effect from the disaster. Primary Stakeholders The primary stakeholders in the case include NASA, Morton-Thiokol, Rockwell International and astronauts and their families. NASA has responsibilities in keeping the astronauts safe and in turn receives a successful mission from the astronaut. They must minimize the cost to maximize the profits/outcomes, which NASA is held liable for. Another primary stakeholder, Morton-Thiokol has been the principal producer of O-rings for the Challenger mission. Flaws in its manufacturing could be fatal, and the company knew it would be
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