Even deeper was the impact on the NASA. This section of Space Safety Magazine is dedicated to the Challenger Disaster, its causes, and its consequences.
Early life[ edit ] Boisjoly studied mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He worked for companies in California on lunar module life-support systems and the moon vehicle. O-ring safety concerns[ edit ] Boisjoly wrote a memo in July to his superiors concerning the faulty design of the solid rocket boosters that, if left unaddressed, could lead to a catastrophic event during launch of a Space Shuttle.
Such a catastrophic event did occur less than a year later resulting in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. This memo followed his investigation of a solid rocket booster SRB from a shuttle flight in January During his investigation, he discovered that the first of a system of two O-rings had failed completely, and that some damage had been caused to the second O-ring.
The O-rings were two rubber rings that formed a seal between two sections of the SRBs. The sections of the boosters were joined using tang and clevis joints and the rings were intended to seal the joint, while allowing for the inevitable movement between the sections under flight conditions.
By design, pressure from within the booster was to push a fillet of putty into the joint, forcing the O-ring into its seat. The system never functioned as designed.
The rings were supposed to sit in a groove and seal the joint between the sections of the booster. It was found, however, that flight dynamics caused the joints in the SRBs to flex during launch, opening a gap through which rocket exhaust could escape.
As the joints flexed, the rings would come out of their grooves and move to a new position in the joint, a process called extrusion. The extruded ring would form a seal in this new position, but during the time it took for the ring to shift, the joint was unsealed and hot gases could escape, a process called blow-by.
These hot gases would damage the rings until the seal was achieved.
Boisjoly's investigation showed that the amount of damage to the O-ring depended on the length of time it took for the ring to move out of its groove and make the seal, and that the amount of time depended on the temperature of the rings.
Cold weather made the rubber hard and less flexible, meaning that extrusion took more time and more blow-by took place. He determined that if the O-rings were damaged enough they could fail. If the second O-ring had failed, Boisjoly realized, the results would almost certainly have been catastrophic with the complete loss of the shuttle and crew seemingly the only outcome.
His investigation found that the first O-ring failed because the low temperatures on the night before the flight had compromised the flexibility of the O-ring, reducing its ability to form a seal.
The first rubber O-ring had formed a partial seal, but not a complete one, but the second O-ring had held. Boisjoly sent a memo describing the problem to his managers, but was apparently ignored.
In late Boisjoly advised his managers that if the problem was not fixed, there was a distinct chance that a shuttle mission would end in disaster. No action was taken. Challenger disaster[ edit ] Following the announcement that the Challenger mission was confirmed for January 28,Boisjoly and his colleagues tried to stop the flight.
Boisjoly felt that this would severely compromise the safety of the O-ring, and potentially lose the flight. The matter was discussed with Morton Thiokol managers, who agreed that the issue was serious enough to recommend delaying the flight.
NASA protocols required all shuttle sub-contractors to sign off on any flight. NASA officials strongly questioned the recommendations, and asked some say pressured Morton-Thiokol to reverse their decision.
The Morton-Thiokol managers asked for a few minutes off the phone to discuss their final position again. The management team held a meeting from which the engineering team, including Roger Boisjoly and others, such as Bob Ebeling, were deliberately excluded.Reporters recall Challenger disaster 30 years later 23 Photos The shuttle Challenger blasts off from pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center at a.m.
EST on Jan. 28, Founded: Sep 18, On 7 March , six weeks after the loss of Challenger, divers from the U.S.S.
Preserver found the remains of the ill-fated shuttle’s crew benjaminpohle.com “was disintegrated, with the heaviest fragmentation and crash damage on the left side,” read the Rogers Commission’s final report into the cause of the disaster.
13 The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster – January 28, via benjaminpohle.com The space shuttle, Challenger, had already completed several landmark missions, including astronaut repair of a satellite, before the fateful day in January when it exploded on live television 73 seconds after liftoff.
The space agency would not see another disaster until Feb. 1, , when seven astronauts lost their lives as the space shuttle Columbia broke apart during its return from its STS mission.
On this day, 21 years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger and her crew of seven were lost when the vehicle broke up after 73 seconds of ascent, sending shockwaves through manned space flight that. The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, , when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.