HCST 100 The Human Context of Science and Technology
November 1, 2003
1-week: Lecture, Discussion, Video; (Laboratory Exercise Option)
Day Two – The Critical Decision and its context (Foster lead)
Day Three – Role Playing the Challenger Flight Readiness Review & Teleconference
Day Four – The
Day Five – The
Day Six – Role Playing the
(suggestions for future instructors or for students wanting to learn more)
Published Archives (microfilm)
1. Presidential Commission on the
Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (
Abstract: Microfilm edition (73 rolls) of the primary archival collection available at the U.S. National Archives.
2. ———. Indexes to Records of the Presidential Commission on
the Space Shuttle "Challenger" Accident.
Abstract: M1501 30 cards (microfiche)
1. Collins, Harry, and Trevor
Pinch. "The Naked Launch: Assigning Blame for the Challenger
Explosion." The Golem: What You Should Know About Technology. Harry
Collins, and Trevor Pinch, 30-56.
2. Feynman, Richard. "Mr.
Feynman Goes to
3. Gieryn, Thomas F., and Anne E. Figert. "Ingredients for a Theory of Science in
Society: O-Rings, Ice Water, C-Clamp, Richard Feynman and the New York
Times." Theories of Science in Society. editors
Susan Cozzens, and Thomas F. Gieryn.
4. Cooper, Henry S. F. Jr. Before Liftoff: the Making of a Space
5. Guilmartin, John F., and John Walker Mauer. Space Shuttle Chronology 1964-1973.
6. Handberg, Roger. Reinventing NASA: Human Spaceflight, Bureaucracy, and Politics.
7. Heppenheimer, T. A. History of the Space Shuttle. The NASA
8. Jenkins, Dennis R. Space
Shuttle the History of the National Space Transportation System: the First 100
Missions. 3rd ed.
9. Jensen, Claus, and Barbara Haveland. No
Downlink: a Dramatic Narrative About the Challenger
10. McConnell, Malcolm. Challenger: a Major Malfunction. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987.
11. Launius, Roger D., and Aaron K.
Gillette. Toward a History of the Space
Shuttle: an Annotated Bibliography. Monographs in Aerospace History, no. 1.
12. Lewis, Richard S. Challenger: the Final Voyage.
13. Logsdon, John M. "The Space Shuttle Program: a Policy Failure?" Science (1986): 1099-105.
14. Maier, Mark. A Major Malfunction: The Story Behind the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. VHS Videorecording with supplemental materials.
15. McCurdy, Howard. Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in
16. McCurdy, Howard E. Inside NASA: the Changing Culture of the American
17. Roland, Alex. "Triumph
18. Shayler, David J. Disasters and Accidents in Manned
19. Thompson, Milton O, and Curtis Peebles. Flying Without Wings NASA Lifting Bodies and
the Birth of the Space Shuttle.
21. Vaughan, Diane. The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Culture,
Technology, and Deviance at NASA.
22. Amier, Mark and Messerschmidt James W. "Commonalities, Conflicts And Contradictions In Organizational Masculinities: Exploring The Gendered Genesis Of The Challenger Disaster." Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 35, no. 3 (1998): 325-44.
23. Cook, Richard. "The
24. Fries, Sylvia Doughty.
"Report From the Field: Dealing With Crisis:
History and the Challenger Disaster." The
Public Historian 10, no. 4 (Fall 1988): 83-88.
Notes: IBID Record # 3348
25. Kay, W. D. "Democracy and Super Technologies: the Politics of the Space Shuttle and the Space Station ." Science, Technology, & Human Values 19, no. 2 (1994): 131-51.
26. Lambright, W. Henry. "Recovering From Space Disaster: the Administrator's Challenge." Space Times 42, no. 5 (2003): 15-17.
27. Langewiesche, William. "
28. Launius, Roger D. "NASA and the Decision to Build the Space Shuttle, 1969-72." The Historian 57, no. 1 (1994): 17-34.
29. ———. "Toward an Understanding of the Space Shuttle: a Historiographical Essay." Air Power History 39, no. 4 (1992): 3-??
30. Romzek, Barbara S Dubnick Melvin J. "Accountability in the Public Sector: Lessons From the Challenger Tragedy." Public Administration Review 47 (May 1987-June 1987): 227-38.
31. Simons, Elizabeth Radin. "The NASA Joke Cycle: The Astronauts And The Teacher." Western Folklore 45, no. 4 (1986): 261-77.
32. Smyth, Willie. "Challenger Jokes And The Humor Of Disaster." Western Folklore 45, no. 4 (1986): 243-60.
33. Terr, Lenore C., Daniel A. Bloch, and Beat A. Michel. "Children's Memories in the Wake of Challenger." The American Journal of Psychiatry 153 (May 1996): 618-25.
Archives & Manuscripts
34. Presidential Commission on
the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (
""Challenger" Commission P.C. Numbered Documents."1986.
Abstract: Official archive of the Commission, available at National Archives: "The Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, chaired by former Secretary of State William P. Rogers, investigated the circumstances surrounding the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger shortly after liftoff on
36. Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) manuscripts and other materials will be archived at a future date. Details may be found in the CAIB Final Report, Volume 1, pp. 235-236, “A.6. Board Documentation System.”
1. Presidential Commission on
the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (
1. CNN. Terminal Count: What It Takes to Make the Shuttle Fly. hrs 2001. VHS Videorecording.
2. KCTS TV Seattle. Astronauts. hrs. VHS Videorecording.
Maier, Mark. A Major Malfunction: The Story Behind the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster. VHS Videorecording with supplemental materials.
3. NASA Television. Challenger Anniversary Video Package. 8 min. 1996. VHS Videorecording.
1. Adams, Rick. "The
Challenger's Final Minutes." Web page, Available at http://www.winternet.com/~radams/chall/.
[Note: the link was not functioning
Abstract: Reliable compilation of information and links concerning the last recorded words of the crew and the widely circulated hoax transcript beyond 73 seconds.
3. Dunar, Andrew J. and Stephen P. Waring. "Power to Explore: A History of Marshall Space
Flight Center, 1960-1990." Web page, 2001 [accessed
Abstract: Full Text; see especially Chapter IX: The Challenger Accident
4. Federation of American
Scientists. "51-L The Challenger Accident."
Web page, [accessed
Abstract: Extensive and well-annotated list of links.
5. Friendly, Michael.
"Gallery of Data Visualization: The Best and Worst of Statistical
Graphics: Challenger Disaster." Web page, [accessed
6. James, M. Neil.
"DSGN119 - Design as a Generic Tool." Web page, [accessed
7. Mark A. Haisler
and Robert Throop. "The Challenger Accident:: An
Analysis of the Mechanical and Administrative Causes of the Accident and the
Redesign Process that Followed." Web page, Fall
Abstract: Well designed and annotated site.
8. MIT Online
Abstract: Morton Thiokol engineer Roger Boisjoly's discussion of the Challenger Disaster is separated into seven sections. Each section is then followed by responses and supporting material.
9. Mottley, Jack G. "ECE 399,
Seminar in Electrical and Computer Engineering, Challenger Case Study."
Web page, Spring 2001 [accessed
10. NASA. "Implementation
of the Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle
Challenger Accident." Web page, [accessed
Abstract: Full text of the NASA Report to the President on implementing the recommendations of the Rogers Commission
11. NASA. "Information on
the STS-51L/Challenger Accident." Web page, [accessed
Abstract: NASA History Office official site, containing both NASA and non-NASA links with no commentary.
12. Ray A.
Williamson. “Developing the Space
Shuttle,” from Exploring the Unknown: Selected Documents in the History of
13. National Air and
14. Presidential Commission on
the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident (
Abstract: Full text of the Rogers Commission Report
15. List of
Shuttle contractors: http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/sts-subs.html#sts-subs
A Note about Web Sites
Warning: there are numerous web sites ranging from authoritative to miserably erroneous. Our comments are intended to help you evaluate the reliability of the information found. Official and reputable web sites themselves have points of view and their content is slanted or missing certain perspectives. Even the best sites may contain some errors.
Models and Demonstrations
Solid Rocket Booster Field Joint and O-Rings (plexiglass tumblers & rubber bands)
Gardenia or equivalent garden hose quick-disconnect fittings (yellow, with black o-ring)
Full-Scale Simulated SRB O-Ring (clothesline 37.5-ft x 0.28-in)
Field Joint Tang-and-Clevis Section Model (use tongue-and-groove flooring)
Commercial plastic model kits of the Shuttle stack and orbiter
Commercial solid-rocket motors (available at any hobby store)
Orbiter Thermal Protection System Tile Specimen (available commercially)
External Tank Foam Demonstration Sample (may be fabricated from nearly identical commercially available spray foam insulation)
CAIB Special Media Page
NASA Human Spaceflight Web Page on STS-107
NASA Official Web Page
CBS News Bill Harwood Web Page