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Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle <i>Challenger</i> Disaster

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster [Kindle Edition]

Allan J. McDonald , James R. Hansen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"We all watched in shock and disbelief when Challenger was lost. Probably no one felt more disappointment and regret than Allan McDonald, who had warned us not to launch that day. His story tells of loss, grief, and the eventual rebuilding and recovery." - Robert "Hoot" Gibson, former Space Shuttle pilot and commander "A major contribution to a difficult episode in the history of human spaceflight." - Roger D. Launius, Division of Space History, Smithsonian Institution "McDonald tells the heartbreaking tale of how he saw his words of warning ignored, and the fateful consequences of that decision." - Donald C. Elder III, Eastern New Mexico University"

Product Description

On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.

In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center. As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle's solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA's Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3091 KB
  • Print Length: 649 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0813033268
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida (11 Mar 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B91LIVO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,590 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside story 22 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought the kindle edition after seeing the BBC film "Challenger"- wanting to know more about Allan McDonald and his story. This book is as detailed as you would expect from an engineer whose care and rigour at his job is obvious. You are plunged right into the heart of the daily grapple with issues of the re-usable hardware in the solid rocket boosters (blowby, erosion, putty, tang clevis field joint and of course dreaded temperature issues). What is glaringly obvious as you see the teams (engineers of MTI NASA etc) working their socks off to meet the next launch review is just how hard they were all working. Two launches a month was never going to be achievable and you feel the ominous overload on man as well as the machines.
The contrast between engineering rigour and the corporate pressures is grindingly painful. A loyal employee starts to say and do things his bosses colleagues and key customer do not want him to. His confusion and pain is gripping stuff.
I would have given this 5stars but Allan's written style is clunky and long winded at times. But it his voice that your hear: picky, tenacious, professional, and above all a shining rigour to laws of physics and principles of good design. And if you don't have at least A- level science you will find much of this unreadable. But do stay with the detail (and the slightly lumpy sentence structures): you can immerse yourself in the intricacy and sheer complexity of the data and double speak arguments that came out after the event.
Being put in charge of the redesign of the rocket boosters after Challenger shows what an extraordinary man Allan is. No wonder his astronaut friends in the orbiter wanted him at launch control when in 1988, the shuttle took to the air again. A memoir that rings with integrity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Challenger Disaster 17 Aug 2011
Excellent book detailing the events leading upto and after the tragedy that claimed the lives of 7 astronauts on 28th January, 1986. This is from the so called "whistle blowers" perspective, Alan McDonald who worked for Morton Thiokol and had warned NASA not to launch that day. Due to the cold weather one of the "O" rings within the their solid rocket engines failed which inevitably led to the catastrophe. Great reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory reading for engineers 31 July 2013
By Andrew
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In a world increasingly run by ‘professional’ managers, this makes for refreshing reading. How a few engineers stood up and were counted in the investigation into the Challenger disaster. If you’re an engineer, then this should be compulsory reading. A lesson in don’t be afraid to push back when you see something is wrong and keep your engineering hat, not your programme or management hat, on.
What would have been useful would be a section before each chapter going through the disaster as it unfolded from the astronauts’ point of view to remind readers that behind this tragedy were the lives of seven astronauts and their families. Something that those who treated MacDonald and Boisjoly with contempt would have done well to remember.
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