Analysis of NASA's Post-Challenger Response and Relationship to the Columbia Accident and Investigation
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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The investigatory findings of the Space Shuttle Challenger and Columbia accident investigation boards are analyzed and evaluated relative to one another, with the goal of determining if there are lessons applicable to organizations that manage technically complex programs. An analysis is conducted of the recommendations from the Challenger investigation and NASAs actions taken to correct problems within the organization. The effectiveness of both the recommendations and NASAs response in terms of preventing the Columbia accident are then examined. In the intervening years between the Challenger and Columbia, several unofficial analyses of the Challenger accident and investigation were published. The findings of these independent works are presented to determine if they have any relationship to the Columbia accident and subsequent Columbia investigation. The investigations of the Columbia and Challenger accidents are compared to determine if any of the investigatory findings indicate that there were common factors in the accidents. An evaluation of NASAs organizational structure and culture, and their impact on the implementation of changes recommended after Challenger also is examined. This analysis results in several conclusions and recommendations applicable to organizations that manage technically complex programs.
- Administration and Management
- Safety Engineering
- Manned Spacecraft