Full version Challenger Disaster

Challenger Disaster

This print version free essay Challenger Disaster.

Category: American History

Autor: reviewessays 10 February 2011

Words: 649 | Pages: 3

In its two hundred and twenty eight years of existence, the country of America has seen many tragedies and failures. However, in the eyes if many, the worst of these tragedies was by far the Challenger disaster of 1986. On January 26, the world was shocked as everyone watched the Challenger shuttle explode, killing all seven crewmembers. The challenger disaster was by far one of the worst tragedies of the space exploration era. However, the disaster should not have occurred. In fact, it should have been prevented.

On August 27, 1984, President Ronald Reagan made an “Announcement of opportunity.” The President announced that America would be starting a Teacher in Space program. The program would choose a civilian teacher, of any grade, and train him or her to take part in a space shuttle launch. Once in space the teacher would conduct several broadcasts to students all over the country so they could see what it was like in space. The experience was described as “The Ultimate Field Trip.”(The Teacher Selection Process)

More than 11,000 candidates applied to be the first teacher in space. One of which was Christa McAuliffe, a teacher from Concord, New Hampshire. Christa submitted her application on the final day that they were accepted. From the starting pool of applicants the field was narrowed to 114 semi-finalists. These semi-finalists were sent to Washington D.C. for interviews, and from them 10 finalists were chosen. The remaining candidates were sent to NASA headquarters and were further questioned until a winner was determined. On July 19, 1985, Vice President George Bush made the announcement of the winner, and the world learned that Christa McAuliffe was to be the first teacher in space. (The Teacher Selection Process)

The launch was scheduled for 11:38 a.m. on January 28th. Actually, the launch had been scheduled several months before that date. However, it was delayed six times due to inclement and several shuttle problems. Yet, the weather on January 28th was no better than the other days. But the shuttle was launched nonetheless. One minute and thirteen seconds after the shuttle had lifted off, it exploded Killing all seven crewmembers on board. (Challenger: The Final Voyage)

On the evening of the twenty-eighth, President Reagan was scheduled to give the State of the Union address. Instead, the address was postponed and the President spoke of the disaster that took place earlier that day. Following his speech, President Reagan set up an investigation committee to find the cause of the disaster. The committee soon discovered the cause of the explosion. A faulty O-ring was the leading physical cause of the disaster. An O-ring is responsible for keeping fuel on a space shuttle in its specified container. However, on the Challenger, an O-ring was not sealed properly, allowing fuel to seep out and catch fire. Seventy-three seconds into the flight, a small amount of leaked fuel caught fire. This small fire was enough to burn the O-ring and destroy it. With the O-ring gone, there was nothing stopping fuel from feeding the fire. The flame continued to grow until it ruptured the fuel tank and destroyed the Challenger. However, the physical causes of the disaster were not wholly responsible for the incident. (Challenger: The Final Voyage)

The fact that a civilian teacher was to be on board the Challenger was perhaps one of the leading causes of the disaster. Following the announcement of the winner, the media hype for the mission skyrocketed. Practically everyone in the world knew that an American teacher was to onboard the Challenger for its mission. The government also played a large role in the disaster. Many high-ranking officials in the government stressed how important the Challengers mission was. They also stressed the magnitude of having a civilian teacher on board the shuttle. The media and the government put quite a bit of pressure on NASA. Pressure, which would inevitably lead to disaster.