Challenger: The Untold Story

I hate to rain on yesterday's parade of pride in our space program and the rover missions to Mars, but it's worth keeping in mind that it hasn't always been this suave and smooth ride of awesomeness. In fact, when the Challenger Space Shuttle shocked the world with its explosion just over a minute after takeoff in 1986 (I'll never forget that surreal experience), the whole space program was put on trial, as the documentary below shows.

Fortunately for future missions, one of the people involved with the investigation of this tragedy was the always astute and fearless Richard Feynman, who would ultimately discover that the problems went beyond the engineering and technical design:
It appears that there are enormous differences of opinion as to the probability of a failure with loss of vehicle and of human life. The estimates range from roughly 1 in 100 to 1 in 100,000. The higher figures come from the working engineers, and the very low figures from management. What are the causes and consequences of this lack of agreement? Since 1 part in 100,000 would imply that one could put a Shuttle up each day for 300 years expecting to lose only one, we could properly ask "What is the cause of management's fantastic faith in the machinery? .. It would appear that, for whatever purpose, be it for internal or external consumption, the management of NASA exaggerates the reliability of its product, to the point of fantasy."



And if you just can't get enough of him, check out the Richard Feynman tag.
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