This module we will look at both the Challenger crash that happened in 1986 and the Columbia crash that happened 17 years later. What you will do in this module is pick one of these crashes and analyze it using a Fault tree analysis. Watch both videos first, then decide which crash you want to focus on. Then read the rest of the information for the crash you want to use to accomplish your case study. Be advised, the discussion topic this week will discuss some issues from both of these crashes so you will need to be familiar with some of the issues that occurred in both.
First, view the following videos:
- Challenger Disaster Live on CNN (2:23 – YouTube) (Links to an external site.)
- Challenger Accident Investigation (1986) (44:45 – YouTube) (Links to an external site.)
- This NASA video is almost 45 minutes, but the analysis starts at 15:00 minutes if you want to fast forward to that point. Click the picture to link to YouTube for video.
Second, read the following sources:
Chapters 4 and 6 of the Presidential Commission Report, also known as the Rogers Report, on the Challenger accident (NASA).
- Chapter IV: The Cause of the Accident (Links to an external site.)
- Chapter VI: An Accident Rooted in History
If you chose the Challenger crash accomplish the following:
Based upon the things you have read and watched on the causes of the Challenger explosion and your own thoughts on what may have contributed it, put yourself in the shoes of the engineering team developing the O-rings for the SRBs. Construct a fault tree analysis of the O-ring construction, keeping in mind the possibilities of temperature changes and other weather considerations.
- This assignment has two requirements that must be completed. The first is a fault tree presenting the data you selected to analyze (an example is found in the Ericson text). The second is a short narrative to the boss telling them why the items you show in your chart are important and need to be addressed. Both of these must be turned in for this case study.