By Glenn Bartlett, Head of Strategy at Step Change
28 January 1986 completely changed the way NASA operates. Here’s why:
That day marked the space shuttle Challenger’s tenth mission. But the day before, the engineers had warned the mission control centre that the cold weather forecast on launch day would pose risks: They had not tested the O-ring seals below 53 degrees Fahrenheit (a critical part of the rocket).
The response of the mission control centre? Nothing. They disregarded the safety issue and proceeded with the mission. And for fear of negative press, they did not release any information regarding the safety issue. And so, on that day, Challenger blasted off. 73 seconds after, it exploded and plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, taking with it the lives of the seven-person crew.