Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Publications & Multimedia
  Challenger Revealed (Richard Cook)

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Challenger Revealed (Richard Cook)
cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 02-18-2007 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hard to tell what it's worth from Usenet newsgroups (they are way too politically oriented that it's difficult to obtain a fair assessment of that book, or any other topic for that matter) but here is info gathered from the author's website, richardccook.com:
Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age

On January 28, 1986, NASA launched shuttle mission 51-L, despite concerns about the freezing weather that had arrived in Florida overnight. Seventy-three seconds into the launch, Challenger exploded, killing seven people and leaving the world to wonder and mourn.

Six months earlier, Richard C. Cook, the lead resource analyst at NASA for the solid rocket boosters, had written a memo that warned of catastrophic failure, based on meetings with headquarters engineers. The warnings were ignored by NASA officials, who refused to stop shuttle flights despite escalating concerns within the agency and Morton Thiokol, the booster contractor.

In the aftermath of the explosion, NASA launched an investigation to "discover" its cause. Though within NASA there was certainty about the O-ring joint failure in a solid rocket booster, they publicly proclaimed that the cause of the explosion was unknown. A Reagan administration Presidential Commission seemed determined to protect NASA from criticism. When Cook realized that a cover-up had begun, he leaked a series of O-ring warning documents to the New York Times. This set off a cascade of disclosures about the events leading up to the disaster, including revelations by Morton Thiokol engineers that they had tried to stop the launch.

Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age is Richard C. Cook's personal story of how he disrupted the cover-ups surrounding the Challenger disaster. Challenger Revealed identifies a complex web of underlying causes for the catastrophe, including the militarization of the manned space program, a right-wing coup that subverted NASA's leadership, chronic insufficient funding, use of the Teacher-in-Space program as a publicity prop, and top-down command-and-control management.

Cook's narrative contains a host of details never before published, including his meetings with the New York Times, accounts of crucial meetings he attended at NASA before the disaster, as well as documents from the National Archives showing how the Commission covered up the White House involvement. With a stunning ending, Challenger Revealed is the only book published on the Challenger disaster by an insider who participated in the events.

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 02-19-2007 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I read a longer blurb about this by the author. Without reading the book, my quick assessment is this:
  • the stuff about the Challenger accident is not really new.
  • the author is spinning a conspiracy when nobody else has found evidence of one.
  • the political stuff is total BS. There are really NO connections between Challenger and the SDI program at the time, and I think that the author is twisting his argument into a pretzel in order to make connections that are not there.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 02-19-2007 04:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dwayne Day:
I read a longer blurb about this by the author. Without reading the book, my quick assessment is this
Thanks, Dwayne. I didn't believe much of it either... I guess you can twist real facts and make up a story that will attract publishers' attention.

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 02-19-2007 05:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I read the blurb, I had a familiar reaction--the first part of it was okay, then it started to drift a little, and then it went completely off the road. The political stuff is really wacky. If he had left those charges out of it and instead stuck to his original focus, then I think he might have had a better book. But I got a sense that this is a person who is so caught up in current politics that they are bending what he is writing about Challenger.

I have actually seen this before. This morning I was listening to C-SPAN radio (for non-Americans, C-SPAN is a cable TV network that covers political issues. It is non-partisan and frequently broadcasts congressional meetings. I was listening to a radio broadcast of one of their book discussion programs). They had on an author talking about Abraham Lincoln because today is President's Day in the US. These book discussion programs on C-SPAN are always the same: the authors are fascinating and about 80% of the people who call in are nuts or partisan windbags.

Anyway, even though the subject was a president who has been dead for 140 years, a lot of people kept bringing up the Iraq war. It didn't matter if the subject was history, lots of people wanted to merge their current political views with the subject.

I get that impression about this guy's book. Rather than write a history, he has some current issues that he wants to discuss as well.

Alas, I think he spoke in Washington on Saturday and I missed him.

spacecraft films
Member

Posts: 802
From: Columbus, OH USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 02-19-2007 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I must say, the most interesting part of this is that it took 20 years to come forward.

We addressed the Cook Memoranda in our Challenger DVD set. He was an analyst who was addressing the impact the solid rocket booster problem could have on the budget, and not so intimately involved so far as the commission could tell. We included his testimony and it deserves watching for its context in the overall investigation.

In this age of celebrity worship and book deals on anything remotely titilating, it doesn't surprise me that this would be created.

I found absolutly no evidence that the Rogers commission did anything to protect the administration... indeed, look at the members of the commission. I challenge anyone to find someone who could influence Neil Armstrong or Richard Feynman (and several others, notably one of my favorites on the commission General Donald Kutyna) to be their patsies. This commission didn't exactly sugar-coat its findings.

I'll buy it, I'll read it, but only because I'll have the advantage of deducting it as part of my business. Otherwise I honestly wouldn't bother (and may not here even with the deduction)...

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 02-20-2007 10:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spacecraft films:
This commission didn't exactly sugar-coat its findings.

That's true. However, I think a decent argument can be made (and has been made) that it was not a very effective investigation. It did not solve the underlying problems.

spacecraft films
Member

Posts: 802
From: Columbus, OH USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 02-20-2007 10:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would agree with that argument, most probably. But to solve the underlying problems requires massive effort on the part of the agency, a review board can only go so far.

Author
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 02-28-2007 07:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Author   Click Here to Email Author     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I appreciate the comments on my new book, Challenger Revealed. I would urge those who are commenting on the book without having read it to do so. The greatest mistake people can make is to assume that because evidence of the political dimensions of the tragdy did not emerge during the so-called investigations they did not exist. Official investigations always have as an objective political damage control, especially if they are non-judicial. This was the case with Challenger.

spacecraft films
Member

Posts: 802
From: Columbus, OH USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 02-28-2007 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr. Cook, nice to see you on the forum. Always open to additional viewpoints, especially from those involved. I'll read the book, but am interested in whether you consider the description above, which reads much like a publisher's marketing release, to be an accurate reflection of your book. Do you consider it accurate?

Additionally, I just went back and looked at your testimony before the commission and have a couple of questions. First, given the above it states "When Cook realized that a cover-up had begun, he leaked a series of O-ring warning documents to the New York Times." During your testimony (which I believe was under oath) you were asked if you had ever given any of your memos to anyone outside your organization. Is there a reason why you said you did not?

Later in your testimony you were asked if you were confident that now with the work of the commission that the accident would be fully and openly investigated and you replied yes, that you were glad it was occuring in public and agreed that it was being investigated, your only suggestion being that the commission talk to a wide variety of engineers working on the boosters (which from their witness list, mainly in other sessions, they did). What changed your opinion from then to 21 years later?

I am also interested in why a commission that you say above "seemed determined to protect NASA from criticism" absolutely grilled the folks from Marshall on the January 26 launch decision?

It's just that the above description of the book deviates from the facts in such a way that I am skeptical of the motivation, and therefore its factual content.

Author
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 02-28-2007 10:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Author   Click Here to Email Author     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mark, thanks for posting and asking the questions. I made the decision during and after the writing of the book to be very cautious about answering questions out of context. It has been extremely difficult to describe the book, and some of the things written by the publicists have focused on certain aspects at the expense of others.

I don't know if you have seen the articles I have written since the book was published on LewRockwell.com and bartcop.com or the article in the Washington City Paper entitled "Shuttle Rebuttal."

If you want more context on my testimonry to the Rogers Commission on February 11 and the pressures I was under, as well as where Chairman Rogers and the NASA participants were coming from in their statements that day, you need to read the book in its entirety, including the summary of that hearing in Chapter 15.

Lastly, I would say that every person involved in the disaster, myself included, did the best they could under the circumstances we were all in, from the perspective we were seeing things from.

In the book I tried to reflect this broader picture and the tragic nature of these events.

I do hope you have a chance to read the book.

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 03-19-2007 08:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw a copy of this book in my local Borders over the weekend and sat down with it for an hour. I have not read the entire book, but I did read enough of it to form some general impressions. It is rather thick and also rather dense. However, it does not appear to be a solid piece of scholarship that stands up well to scrutiny. The book makes some strong accusations, but lacks the data to support them.

I read two of the chapters in the middle of the book related to the alleged conspiracy concerning the Challenger accident. These dealt with the alleged connections to the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) and the claim that NASA was pressured by the White House because Reagan wanted to discuss Christa McAuliffe during his State of the Union Address. I also looked closely at the footnotes.

For a book that claims to contain controversial information about the Challenger accident, it is very thinly sourced and shows little indication of primary source research such as interviews and archival and documentary research. Most of the sources are secondary, usually books or articles in magazines, and there are no solid sources provided to support the most serious allegations. The book relies upon Joseph Trento's rather old (and many consider muckraking) book Prescription for Disaster for many pieces of information rather than on some newer works or documentary sources. Instead of firsthand interviews with the people involved, the author repeatedly cites people such as journalists that he talked to who told him that things had happened. Why didn't he talk directly to the participants themselves? If his only source that a meeting took place is a CNN producer and not somebody who was there, then how do we know that the meeting actually took place? How do we know that the story did not get distorted in the retelling? How come the CNN producer did not write the book? The author also repeatedly cites "author's notes" as a source. But this is not really a source. It's like putting "I say so" in a footnote. What _are_ those notes? What do they refer to? As a form of citation, this is essentially useless. It is circular. I cannot go to an archive or a person and follow-up on the subject. All I have is the author's say-so. There are thousands of documents available on the Challenger accident. Yet there is no evidence in the book that the author used documents at NASA Headquarters, the National Archives, or other places. Nor is there any evidence that the author used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documentation on subjects such as the Strategic Defense Initiative.

I think that this is a key point. If you are going to make serious charges, such as conspiracy and coverup, then you have to support those charges with solid evidence, such as documents and interviews that people can check, not use what is essentially hearsay evidence. Simply put, there is no solid, checkable evidence to support these allegations.

The section on how conservative politicians allegedly took over NASA is also rather odd. It is rather breathless, implying sinister motives (as if being a "conservative" is a bad thing). Now that line of argument might work with people who have a liberal point of view, but it is not an effort to be an objective and unbiased reporter of events -- it starts from a partisan position. The author essentially starts with the view that the Strategic Defense Initiative was evil, therefore any efforts to get NASA to support more SDI missions in the 1980s are portrayed as evidence of something sinister.

The author frequently refers to the "Conservative Movement" or "Movement" in capital letters, as if it was some kind of sinister conspiracy or cult. However, there are other examples of odd editing, such as a comment that one person had been an expert in "nuclear weapons 'effects'" (note the quotation marks) as if the word "effects" required separate quotation marks because it's not a legitimate term. I noticed other odd uses of capitalized words. Normally that would merely indicate poor copy-editing (a good copy editor has no higher calling than to attack the gratuitous use of quotation marks), but it is also a characteristic of conspiracy screeds.

In sum, although I did not bother to go through the book and carefully check every allegation, it is clear from a review of the sources and the citation methods and several chapters in the book that the argument of nefarious conspiracy is weak and unsubstantiated. There is no reason to believe that this book adds anything to our understanding of the subject.

spacecraft films
Member

Posts: 802
From: Columbus, OH USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 03-19-2007 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dwayne, I read the whole book. You summed it up well.

The book absolutely oozes the conservative=evil viewpoint, which, I suspect, is the reason it was published, and published now. He starts in the introduction and never strays very far from this theme.

And the book relies solely on the author's own viewpoints rather than documented backup. My opinion is to not waste your time. I'm certainly sorry I wasted both my time and my money.

collocation
Member

Posts: 365
From: McLean, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 03-19-2007 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collocation   Click Here to Email collocation     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Like to know if the book covers the visits to Precesion Rubber Product Corporation and Parker Seal Company that made the O-Ring material and that they actually let NASA know in 1979 that the material was being not being used as is was intended, or is this urban legend, this memo can be found here.

spacecraft films
Member

Posts: 802
From: Columbus, OH USA
Registered: Jun 2002

posted 03-19-2007 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacecraft films   Click Here to Email spacecraft films     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is true that NASA was warned that the seals were not being used as intended.

It is also true that Marshall engineers rejected the design when it was first put forward and tested. At some point it was decided to proceed.

The book wasn't so much on design as what was noted above as well as Cook's specific areas which were budgetary in the 85-86 time frame. I don't recall if the subject was mentioned. But that memo is real.

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 03-19-2007 05:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by spacecraft films:
I read the whole book. You summed it up well.

The book absolutely oozes the conservative=evil viewpoint, which, I suspect, is the reason it was published, and published now. He starts in the introduction and never strays very far from this theme.


I should have read the introduction, but the chapter on conservatives and NASA (with a title something like "We will be able to control the universe!" had several traits that are common to conspiracy publications. A common one is that the author forgets that the reader does not automatically share his identical worldview and also is not going to automatically see the connections between events. Thus, the author will say "See, this happened, and then THAT happened, and _of course_ you know what that means?!"

Meanwhile the reader sits there looking puzzled and replies "er... no, I don't see the connection..." and the writer gets more and more frustrated because in his opinion, the connections are obvious.

(Although I said that this trait is common to conspiracy writing, the conspiracy does not have to be big for the writer to commit this flaw. Many years ago I was reviewing a manuscript where an author claimed that the killing of a piece of legislation proved that nefarious forces were being nefarious. I kept pointing out to the editor and writer that hundreds of pieces of legislation get introduced every year and killed, and most of the time that happens not for nefarious purposes, but because that is the way Congress works. I kept insisting that if the author was going to allege pressure to kill the legislation, then he needed to _prove_ it, not simply assume that the readers would automatically make the connection. Ultimately, the book never got published because of lapses in logic like this.)

Anyway, back to our story...

The chapter on conservatives and the SDI program was filled with stuff like this. We're told that so and so met with three other people in a Georgetown restaurant and because of that, people got fired and policies got implemented and reputations were destroyed. But the fact that some people had a meeting is not in itself sinister. What exactly did they discuss? Of course, you don't know that until you talk to one of them (and preferably more).

The whole tone of the book was like this. If the reader is predisposed to believe in a vast conservative conspiracy to do bad things to NASA, then they're going to connect the dots and (maybe) conclude that evil things happened. For those of us who are agnostic on the issue, that won't happen.

What's a shame is that as I was reading that chapter I realized that the SDI program's plans for space launches during the 1980s really deserves some attention. We know now, 20+ years later, that none of those plans came to fruition. But were the SDIO people making totally unrealistic plans, just as NASA was, concerning use of the shuttle? Probably. Will we learn much about that from this book? Nope.

MCroft04
Member

Posts: 1219
From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 03-19-2007 07:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dwayne Day:
The book relies upon Joseph Trento’s rather old (and many consider muckraking) book Prescription for Disaster for many pieces of information rather than on some newer works or documentary sources. weak and unsubstantiated.
Thanks for the comments on the Trento book. I'm just now reading it and your opinion will be helpful as I dig into it.

Dwayne Day
Member

Posts: 532
From:
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 03-20-2007 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dwayne Day   Click Here to Email Dwayne Day     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, I didn't really comment on the Trento book other than to say a) it is old, and b) many consider it to be a "muckraking" book. a) is my opinion, and b) is not my opinion.

It's been a long time since I read that book. My main concern is that any new book on Challenger should not really rely upon it that heavily.

Unfortunately, there are no really good books about the Challenger accident. Diane Vaughn's book focuses on one aspect of it, but is not a popular readership kind of book.

ea757grrl
Member

Posts: 555
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 03-20-2007 09:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For too long now I've been wishing that there were a proper, full-length, broad-scope book about the 51L accident that told the whole story, but did so in an engaging and reader-friendly manner.

But almost all of the books I've found were done not long after the accident -- there was Trento, and Malcolm McConnell's "Challenger: A Major Malfunction," plus the quickly-produced "Challengers" paperback that the Washington Post put out in 1986. (I'm not including the handful of astronaut biographies, such as "I Touch The Future," in this sum.) All these books are readable, but they're products of their times and the information available then, and sort of limited in that regard.

Diane Vaughan's "The Challenger Launch Decision" is highly informative, but it's an academic press book and can be hard to access (heck, I've got a Ph.D. and I'm having trouble following parts of it. Plus, when you look at it, it's a book about how organizations work and how decisions get made, using the Challenger decision as a case study).

I keep hoping that down the road we'll get the book that takes the full measure of Challenger and brings all the stories, plus the information we've learned since, into a single, engaging, readable volume. This is meant without any disrespect to anyone who's already written about Challenger, past or present, as in their different ways they've been contributions; it's that, from the comprehensive historical point of view, I feel like there's a heck of a book waiting to happen.

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 12-30-2007 02:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is one book about Challenger I have read which I consider to be a pretty good one, since it doesn't try to set out to uncover anything sinister. That is "The Truth about Challenger" by Randy Avera. I spied this one in a KSC gift shop and picked it up, even though I had some reservations about the subject matter.

Randy simply tells the story from his perspective as a NASA engineer working at KSC, who got tagged to help with the reconstruction of the orbiter vehicle during the investigation, simply because he wasn't directly involved with the pipeline flow of Challenger for STS-51L (He was working on Columbia for the STS-61C at the time). He covers it from that angle and tends to stick with it and doesn't delve into partisan politics. He does cover one bit of the infamous Reagan State of the Union speech controversy and that the White House supposedly put undue pressure on NASA to launch that day. His conclusion was he couldn't find anything about that as the speech writers only had one line that mentioned it and had a couple drafts of the speech (one with mention, one without).

You won't find any smoking gun in this book. What you will find is a good account of what happened during the investigation. He does address certain more controversial aspects of the Rogers Commission final report concluding the accident wasn't due to the O-Rings though and his logic is valid. If it really was the O-Rings, then why did NASA spend millions on booster redesign? If O-rings were the culprit, simply fly with new O-rings, right? Well, the entire SRB booster joint was flawed and flexing too much under pressure, meaning the O-rings were called upon to do things they were never intended to do and became the scapegoats in the process.

Overall, I found it to be a good read and easy to follow. A lay person should be able to read it without difficulty as well as he does a pretty good job of explaining things in a manner for most people to understand.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 12-30-2007 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Chladek:
If O-rings were the culprit, simply fly with new O-rings, right?
Jay, if the O-rings are not at fault, then we're back to this discussion. Unless I misunderstood your post?

collocation
Member

Posts: 365
From: McLean, VA, USA
Registered: Feb 2004

posted 12-30-2007 08:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for collocation   Click Here to Email collocation     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a rather intriguing and interesting perspective on his subject, I highly recommend reading (or better yet listening to the book on tape) Richard Feynman's "What Do You Care What People Think?"; very entertaining and informative, many interesting observations about the accident, the people (Armstrong, Ride and Rogers) etc. A rather large portion of this book is dedicated to the subject

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard P. Feynman

Jay Chladek
Member

Posts: 2211
From: Bellevue, NE, USA
Registered: Aug 2007

posted 12-31-2007 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The main culprit as described in the book I read was excessive flexing of the joints due to joint rotation. This is not at all related to the thing Furniss latched onto in that other discussion (which I remember quite well). That was something even more oddball then this.

Marshall knew about the possibility of "joint rotation" from their early testing in 1977 and that has been documented elsewhere. With the way the joints were designed, the O-rings would pull away from the upper joint segment's tab and were no longer able to hold in the asbestos putty (the actual fire proofing material used to hold back the hot gases). The cold exacerbated the malfunction by weakening the O-rings. But if the joints didn't have the flex problem in the first place, then even a cold O-ring should have held up as it would have been fully seated in its cavity.

If I read it right, then an O-ring operating normally would have still sealed the putty during joint flex (from 0.0042 to 0.006 of an inch), although it becomes the weak link in the chain with nothing to back it up if there is a problem with it (such as cold making it brittle). There was evidence of O-ring blow by on several previous launches, but Challenger's just happened to be at the worst possible spot, the aft field joint near the ET attachment struts. Engineering disasters are like that. Break one link in the chain and nothing happens. Stack them all together, problem.

The current SRB joint design is much more substantial and uses three O-rings (made of the same material as I understand it). So NASA covered both bases by having a better joint design and putting O-ring heaters in to make sure the material is at the proper operating temperatures at all times prior to launch. One fix (the heaters) was rather inexpensive. The other fix (the joints) was a bit more expensive.

Richard Easton
Member

Posts: 119
From: Winnetka, IL USA
Registered: Jun 2006

posted 12-31-2007 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Richard Easton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Quest: the History of Spaceflight Quarterly, Vol 14 #3 had an interesting article:

"Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: The Real Story of the Challenger Accident" by Allan McDonald and James Hansen

They are working on a book on the subject.

art540
Member

Posts: 432
From: Orange, California USA
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 12-31-2007 07:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The shocker was there was no extreme cold weather testing for a vehicle designed to have a high flight rate which would have to include several very severe cold spells in Florida and California over the years.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4046
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 01-01-2008 12:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regarding testing, that's basically what Dennis Jenkins wrote in his essay "Broken in Midstride" (Reaching the High Frontier, p382.), 7 tests were done to qualify the SRB while 726 were used for the SSMEs.

art540
Member

Posts: 432
From: Orange, California USA
Registered: Sep 2006

posted 01-01-2008 11:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for art540   Click Here to Email art540     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was surprised that was no real cold weather encountered in Utah for those 7 tests. I wonder if a temperature test such as an aircraft gets, i.e. a chill soak at some predetermined level was done or considered for o-rings and the propellant itself, i.e. bonding to the walls. We know there was a temperature range specified for the SRB and perhaps several...

(The chill soak tests were done in a special facility.)

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2012 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement