pingusbeak: This disaster was a classic instance of groupthink, a psychological phenomenon where basically because everybody else seems to think something is fine, individuals with doubts or worries downplay them and dissidence is not part of the culture.
It’s how smart individuals end up involved in criminal activity (Enron), how child protection and safeguarding failures happen (people instinctively downplay their suspicions/refuse to believe the worst of somebody), how Chernobyl was allowed to become fatally badly designed/run, etc.
panzerkampfwagen: One thing to remember is that the managers of the engineers originally agreed with them and told NASA that. NASA told them to hang up, take off their engineering hats and put on their management hats and call back. The managers believed that NASA was threatening their contracts and so they called back and said it was ok to launch.
kgunnar: When I was in business school we had to complete a series of activities related to ethics in business. One of the events was a speech by this guy that took place not long after the Columbia accident. When he started talking about Columbia he got choked up and had to hold back tears. He said the knew it would happen again because the culture hadn’t changed.
chasebrendon: I’m late 40’s. Certain events are embedded in my mind. This was one. Very sad day. RIP explorers!
ManikBastrd: This could be a movie
KarlJay001: Some say this is a learning point, but look at all the other examples that are less damaging. Oil spills, building design, etc… We just can’t seem to learn from the past.
Personally I’ve been directly involved with this kind of mindset. I stood in a server room while warning a contractor to check a script. He wiped out all the data on a live production server while two of my bosses ignored my warnings.
These things happen every day, this just shows how bad it can get.
panzerkampfwagen: And luckily NASA learnt their lesson and never had another accident.
Crashoverride0010: How awful that the crew were likely alive on their way back to earth. IIRC at least 3 of them had activated their emergency air packs and we’re likely alive for those awful few minutes during the plummet into the sea.
“Uh oh” indeed.
making_mischief: The Challenger explosion happened when I was just a year old. Did they have safety redundant protocols in place? Like, having a red team to make sure everything was as tight as it could be? Or doing what pilots/doctors do now where they run through a checklist and each person’s voice gets equal weight?
rick2497: I remember that. They were warned well ahead of time but decided to launch anyways. Nothing like ones life dependent on something supplied by the lowest bidder.
magneticphoton: One of the engineers told Richard Feynman about it, and you get this great clip from the [Rogers Commission Report 0:38]
Count_Long_Dong: My dad is a salesman for a major company that sells mailing equipment. He one time was meeting a customer to sell them some stuff. So my dad is talking with the guy and get some interrupted by a guy who comes in with news on one of their subcontractors, Morton-Thiokol. My dad is like, “Morton-Thiokol… where do I know that name?” The customer across the table looks at my dad and just says, “The o-rings…”
And my dad was like, “Ohh… yeah.”
The man proceeded to break down in tears and tell my dad that they repeatedly told NASA the seal was no good. The specifications they asked for wouldn’t work, but NASA refused to listen.
And that’s the story of a time my dad made one of his customers cry.
liarandathief: To be fair, he said that before every launch.