Friday, January 28, 2011

Duly Noted: Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

(This is a bit of a drive-by posting, since it's already 3 and I don't have time at the moment to write up more than a summary and a link list.)

Twenty-five years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated a minute and change after lift-off, killing its seven-person crew. It had been cold the night before, and predictions were for temperature near freezing at the time of the launch; the low temperature caused the failure of an O-ring on the shuttle's solid rocket booster. Engineers for one of NASA's contractors expressed concern about proceeding with the launch under the weather conditions forecast, but were overruled. The launch went forward, and the O-ring's failure allowed heated, pressurized gas to escape and damage certain hardware.

Wikipedia has an article about the launch. Sub-articles include:
--  Space Shuttle Challenger launch decision
--  STS-51-L Mission timeline
Detroit Free Press coverage: 25 years ago today: Space shuttle Challenger explodes article: Challenger Shuttle Disaster at 25: NASA Recalls Darkest Moments
New York Times coverage from 1986:
-- The Shuttle Explosion: Suddenly, Flash of Fear Dashes Watchers' Hopes
-- Thousands Watch a Rain of Debris

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