Rockets 03

OPENING QUESTION: What do you recall about the space shuttle program?

  • Specifically--- How many shuttles actually flew?
  • Which shuttles were destroyed?
  • How were those shuttles lost?

LEARNING GOAL FOR TODAY: I will be able to relate the engineering design challenges/flaws that led to the cancellation of the space shuttle program


  • O-Rings





Now let's take a look at the entire space shuttle assembly:

The Solid Fuel Rocket Designed & Built by the Morton Thiokol Corporation

Take a look way down at the very bottom of the booster rocket

Now let's take a look at THAT part of the assembly:

Notice the SIZE of the O-Rings (WOW!)

Let's take a look at the NASA report describing the O ring failure

And here's a video of the disaster (watch the very bottom of the booster rockets)

It turns out that there were several engineers at Morton Thiokol (the company that made the solid fuel 'booster' rockets) who tried very dilligently to alert NASA that the "O" rings might fail or were likely to fail and that Challenger was in very serious danger if it were launched on that day back in January, 1996.

Here is that interiew

And Here is a follow up interview about one month later