GNEG 1103: Introduction to Engineering (8W)

Failure Analysis Project

Video Presentation


Major Malfunction: Challenger Explosion - Written by British Broadcasting Corporation, Narrated by John Nettles, Produced by Bryn Higgins, In Disaster (Sydney, New South Wales: Futuremedia, 2013), 30 minutes.

Engineering Ethics

Whitbeck, C. (2011). Two Examples of Professional Behavior: Roger Boisjoly and William LeMessurier. In Ethics in Engineering Practice and Research (pp. 105-132). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511976339.006

Governmental Resources

The Challenger Disaster was reviewed by many governmental organizations and multiple reports were written. The major report is listed below. Chapter 5 has some interesting information.

[82] The decision to launch the Challenger was flawed. Those who made that decision were unaware of the recent history of problems concerning the O-rings and the joint and were unaware of the initial written recommendation of the contractor advising against the launch at temperatures below 53 degrees Fahrenheit and the continuing opposition of the engineers at Thiokol after the management reversed its position. They did not have a clear understanding of Rockwell's concern that it was not safe to launch because of ice on the pad. If the decision makers had known all of the facts, it is highly unlikely that they would have decided to launch 51-L on January 28, 1986.

Research to Change the Future

Engineers and others often look at previous failures in order to change systems that might lead to a disaster. Below are some research articles that have found interesting information about the Challenger disaster and made recommendations on how to avoid the same type of communication failure in the future.