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Case Study 5The last case study is the Challenger case study. In 1986, The Challenger, an American space shuttle was launched into space. However, a few minutes after the launch, the space shuttlebroke apart, resulting in the death of 7 passengers inside the vehicle (SJSU 2008). This actually happened because NASA forced the space shuttle to launched after they received several concerns about the space shuttle. Before the launch, engineers who built the shuttle already warned NASA that there was a technical problem, therefore they recommended to postpone the launch. One of the engineers told NASA that the weather was too cold. They said that there was a problem with the O-ring (Challenger). It was reported that the O-ring failed because of three reasons that connected to each other: structural; the O-ring was flawed in the first place, O-ring wasn’t able to seal properly in low temperature, and finally, the decision to launch in low temperature itself (Root). However, NASA disregarded the warning and let the space shuttle go
into space. After that incident, NASA learned from the mistake and ensured that they will not let it happen again in the future.This case clearly showed a few mistakes of decision making. According to Silverman, NASA wanted to launch the shuttle so badly to “secure increased funding for the space program from Congress.” But NASA is wrong for putting their astronauts on the line. NASA knew that they had a technical problem with the space shuttle and they had to delay the launch because they were informed beforehand, but they still let it launch as if they purposely let the people inside die. If NASA listened carefully to what the engineers said, patient enough and really care about other people’s life seriously, this wouldn’t have happened. In utilitarianism perspective, we consider two things: the overall happiness and unhappiness caused by an action. Who were unhappy with this incident? Apparently, a lot of people. There were the 7 passengers. All relatives of those 7 passengers must have mourned theirdeaths. There are the society who were on their sides as well. Not only that, but NASA also lost their multi-million dollar space shuttle. In conclusion, a lot of parties experienced sadness from this incident, even the one who caused the incident. The amount of happiness was way outnumbered by the majority who felt sadness. In fact, there little to no one who experienced happiness from this event. From the start, more parties were never happy with NASA’s decision to launch the shuttle, and NASA made it worse. This incident definitely did not align with the theory of utilitarianism where net happinessis supposed to be bigger than net unhappiness, because in fact the opposite happened. So, this decision NASA made was unethical.