Space Shuttle Accident: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, Ninety-ninth Congress, Second Session, on Space Shuttle Accident and the Rogers Commission Report, February 18, June 10, and 17, 1986, Volume 4

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Page 75 - The Shuttle program made a conscious decision to postpone spare parts procurements in favor of budget items of perceived higher priority. Lack of spare parts would likely have limited flight operations in 1986. 3.
Page 73 - Commission is troubled by what appears to be a propensity of management at Marshall to contain potentially serious problems and to attempt to resolve them internally rather than communicate them forward.
Page 74 - No witness related the approval or disapproval of the reliability engineers, and none expressed the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of the quality assurance staff. No one thought to invite a safety representative or a reliability and quality assurance engineer to the January 27, 1986, teleconference between Marshall and Thiokol. Similarly, there was no representative of safety on the Mission Management Team that made key decisions during the countdown on January 28, 1986. The...
Page 73 - Rockwell's position was, it is clear that they did tell NASA that the ice was an unknown condition. Given the extent of the ice on the pad, the admitted unknown effect of the Solid Rocket Motor and Space Shuttle Main Engines ignition on the ice, as well as the fact that debris striking the Orbiter was a potential flight safety hazard, the Commission finds the decision to launch questionable under those circumstances. In this situation, NASA...
Page 78 - ... provide full and timely information bearing on the safety of flight 51-L to other vital elements of Shuttle program management. • NASA should take energetic steps to eliminate this tendency at Marshall Space Flight Center, whether by changes of personnel, organization, indoctrination or all three. A policy should be developed which governs the imposition and removal of Shuttle launch constraints. Flight Readiness Reviews and Mission Management Team meetings should be recorded . The flight crew...
Page 71 - A combustion gas leak through the right solid rocket motor aft field joint initiated at or shortly after ignition eventually weakened and/or penetrated the external tank initiating vehicle structural breakup and loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger during STS mission 51-L. 2. The evidence shows that no other STS 51-L...
Page 75 - ... might have been subjected to outside pressure to launch. Such rumors concerning unnamed persons, emanating from anonymous sources about events that may never have happened, are difficult to disprove and dispel. Nonetheless, during the Commission's hearings all persons who played key roles in that decision were questioned. Each one attested, under oath, that there had been no outside intervention or pressure of any kind leading up to the launch. One rumor was that plans had been made to have a...
Page 71 - What evidence pointed to the right Solid Rocket Booster as the source of the accident as opposed to other elements of the Space Shuttle? Finally, what was the mechanism of failure? Using mission data, subsequently completed tests and analyses, and recovered wreckage, the Commission identified all possible faults that could originate in the respective flight elements of the Space Shuttle which might have the potential to lead to loss of the Challenger. Potential contributors to the accident examined...
Page 73 - The Space Shuttle's Solid Rocket Booster problem began with the faulty design of its joint and increased as both NASA and contractor management first failed to recognize it as a problem, then failed to fix it and finally treated it as an acceptable flight risk.
Page 72 - Commission concluded that the cause of the Mission 51 -L accident was the failure of the pressure seal in the aft field joint of the right solid rocket motor. The failure was due to a faulty design unacceptably sensitive to a number of factors. These factors were the effects of temperature, physical dimensions, the character of materials, the effects of reuse, processing, and the reaction of the joint to dynamic loading.

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