Challenger Revealed: An Insider's Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age

Overview


The Reagan Administration pushed hard for NASA to launch shuttle mission 51L, before it was ready. 73 seconds into the launch, the shuttle exploded, killing seven people and leaving a nation traumatized. Richard Cook, the lead resource analyst at NASA for the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), was the first to warn of possible catastrophic failure. His memo, which detailed astronaut concerns and warnings from the shuttle builders at Morton Thiokol, were ignored by top NASA officials and members of the Reagan ...
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1st Edition, Fine/VG+ 3/8" DJ tear top front edge, DJ front flap crease, o.w. clean, tight & bright. NO ink names, bookplates etc. Price unclipped. ISBN 1560259809

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Overview


The Reagan Administration pushed hard for NASA to launch shuttle mission 51L, before it was ready. 73 seconds into the launch, the shuttle exploded, killing seven people and leaving a nation traumatized. Richard Cook, the lead resource analyst at NASA for the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), was the first to warn of possible catastrophic failure. His memo, which detailed astronaut concerns and warnings from the shuttle builders at Morton Thiokol, were ignored by top NASA officials and members of the Reagan administration. In the aftermath of the explosion, NASA launched an investigation to "discover" the cause of the disaster. Though within NASA there was absolute certainty about the O-ring joint failure, they began a cover-up by publicly proclaiming that the cause of the explosion was unknown. A Reagan administration Commission perpetrated the same lie. And when Richard Cook realized that the Commission was not interested in revealing the truth, he acted as a true patriot and hero and leaked the original O-ring warning documents to the New York Times. His article set off a cascade of disclosures about the events leading up to the disaster, including revelations by Morton Thiokol engineers that they had tried to stop the launch.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A gripping true-life thriller that describes the struggle to discover and disseminate the truth about the 1986 destruction of the space shuttle Challenger, this book provides new and startling material, presented in a spellbinding narrative with direct relevance to the current state of the U.S. government. Former NASA resource analyst Cook, whose long public service record includes 20 years at the Treasury Department, rocketed from anonymous bureaucrat to public fame during the Challengerinvestigation, and later was awarded the Cavallo Foundation's Award for Moral Courage in Business and Government for his efforts to uncover the facts about the faulty O-ring seals that led the shuttle's solid rocket boosters to explode. Easily the most informative and important book on the disaster, Cook's work is meticulously documented, augmenting his own insider knowledge with transcripts, memoranda, reports and interviews to provide the first truly comprehensive book on what happened on January 28, 1986, and why. Tracing the history of the space shuttle's design and development, Cook leads readers step by step, decision by decision to the tragic event. Cook concludes that rather than an accident, the disaster was the result of Reagan's autocratic management style and closed-door decision-making process. Further documentation shows how the Rogers Commission, charged with investigating the explosion, was conceived as part of a cover-up effort, which also included collusion by some NASA managers, White House operatives and commission head William P. Rogers. By focusing solely on equipment malfunctions and internal NASA decision making, it seems that Rogers evaded the most importantquestion: why was it so important to those in power to launch the shuttle on that day? This account, featuring many players still working in government today, is essential reading on the topics of NASA and U.S. government obfuscation. (Feb.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560259800
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/11/2007
  • Pages: 516
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author


In 1986, Richard Cook became one of the foremost whistleblowers of all time. He has done policy-level work at the U.S. Civil Service Commission, the FDA, and the Jimmy Carter White House. He has also published articles in The Washington Post, Washington Monthly, Space and Security News, and the Houston Post. In 1991, Cook was a recipient of the Cavallo Foundation Award for Moral Courage in Business and Government.
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Table of Contents


Introduction     vii
Pre-Disaster     1
"We Got You Cheap": How I Arrived at NASA     3
"Think and Talk Positive": My Introduction to the Space Shuttle Program     16
"Two-Minute Ride": The Dangers of the Solid Rocket Boosters     31
"The Centaur is the Only Vehicle": Politics in the Space Shuttle Program     49
"Giving an Honest Estimate": Things Go Wrong with the Centaur     60
"Fly As Is": NASA Ponders the Centaur Problems as Challenger Looms on Pad 39-A     70
History     89
"First You Have to Get the Horse": How America Decided to Build the Space Shuttle     91
"Get Out of Our Way": Operating the Shuttle Like a Scheduled Airline     109
"A Vision of the Future": Weapons in Space     128
"We'll End Up Ruling the World": The Right Wing Subverts NASA's Leadership     149
"Lesson From Space": A Brief History of Shuttle Missions     169
Leaks     187
"Don't Let Anybody Say Anything": The Cover-ups Begin     189
"This is Good Stuff": How the New York Times Came to Disclose the O-ring Papers     209
"An Unpleasant, Unfortunate Situation": The Commission Meets Behind Closed Doors     228
"What is he Doing to them?": My Appearance Before the Commission     254
"LowerTemperatures Aggravate this Problem": The Commission Changes Direction     283
"The Tooth Fairy": The World Hears the Thiokol Engineers' Story     314
"Afraid That the Messenger May Be Slain": The Commission Moves Ahead-Sort of     359
Responsibility     379
"Shockingly Sparse Concerns for Human Life": The Commission's Flawed Report     381
"It is Not Going to Fail Because of Me": The Senate and House Hearings     400
"They Think You're Close to the Truth": My Work with Senator Ernest Hollings     418
"No One Expected Challenger to be Launched": The House Report Closes the Government's Book on Challenger     438
"No Such Thing Has Ever Taken Place": Did President Reagan Order the Challenger Launch?     448
Postscript     478
NASA's Shuttle Matrix Organization on January 28, 1986     480
Acknowledgements     481
Glossary     483
Notes     491
Index     504
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