PH307 Disasters Essay Space Flight Disasters, Smith, October 2009 Essay title: Challenger and Columbus. What are the known risks and unknown risks of manned spaceflight? Can we assess the risk? Should we take the risk?



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Blame a NASA Conspiracy
The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster could have been prevented. What professional responsibilities were neglected? What was the cause of the disaster?  What was more to blame: human failure or engineering failure?
Future. What drives us to take such high risks and, in this respect, should NASA now be planning for a Moon station followed by a manned mission to Mars? Can you be confident you know the risk of the known unknowns and unknown unknowns when you board an aircraft?
Would you volunteer to be the first human on Mars? At what risk? What is the personal sacrifice? The prestige? The financial gain if you return? The personal acheivement?
Should we continue with exploring space?

Should we continue with manned missions?

How much should we spend on these activities?
Should we (prepare to) evacuate the Earth?

In case of emergency, where is the EXIT?

What emergencies could occur?

Material:
Feynman’s findings on the Challenger ‘86.

The Columbia report 2008

The Space Race & The Space Age

Previous space flight tragedies




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