Columbia and Challenger: organizational failure at NASA

TitleColumbia and Challenger: organizational failure at NASA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsHall, JLorenzo
JournalSpace Policy
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number0265-9646
AbstractThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s flagship endeavor—human spaceflight—is extremely risky and one of the most complicated tasks undertaken by man. It is well accepted that the tragic destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger on 28 January 1986 was the result of organizational failure. The surprising disintegration of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February 2003—nearly 17 years to the day after Challenger—was a shocking reminder of how seemingly innocuous details play important roles in risky systems and organizations. This paper outlines some of the critical features of NASA's organization and organizational change.