The two Space Shuttle tragedies, Challenger and Columbia, have led to many papers on case studies on engineering ethics. The Challenger disaster in particular is often discussed due to the infamous teleconference that took place the night before the launch in which some engineers tried to postpone the launch. However, the space shuttle program itself is worthy of study as it relates to the engineering design process, and the details of the Challenger and Columbia disasters are worthy of discussion as they relate to a variety of sub-disciplines, including material science, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer. This paper summarizes the major technical findings of the Rogers Commission and the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). An overview of the history of the space shuttle program, going back to the end of the Apollo program, is presented, including some of the design compromises that were made in order to get political support for the space shuttle program. A detailed bibliography is given that will aid instructors in finding additional material they can tailor to their particular class needs.
American Society for Engineering Education
2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition
Number of Pages
Scholarly Commons Citation
Post, S. L. (2014). Space Shuttle Case Studies: Challenger and Columbia. , (). 10.18260/1-2--23027