Lost in space: A critique of NASA's crisis communications in the Columbia disaster

TitleLost in space: A critique of NASA's crisis communications in the Columbia disaster
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsKauffman, J
JournalPublic Relations Review
Date Published2005
Publication Languageeng
ISBN Number03638111
KeywordsCOLUMBIA , COMMUNICATION , Government , NASA , PUBLIC , Space
AbstractThe explosion of space shuttle Columbia on 1 February 2003 threatened to destroy the image and confidence NASA had labored years to restore in the wake of its poor handling of the Challenger disaster. This paper examines NASA's crisis communications regarding Columbia's explosion. It argues that the space agency did most things right in responding to the crisis, but it made errors that reflect serious and long-standing problems with its organizational culture. It proposes that the space agency must fix flaws with its organizational culture, or it may be forced into the unenviable position of relying on crisis communications to protect its image and reputation.
NotesKauffman, James 1; Email Address: jkauffm@ius.edu; Affiliation: 1: Department of Communication Studies, Indiana University Southeast, 4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN 47150, USA; Source Info: Jun2005, Vol. 31 Issue 2, p263; Subject Term: PUBLIC relations; Subject Term: COMMUNICATION; Subject Term: GOVERNMENT agencies; Subject Term: SPACE shuttles; Author-Supplied Keyword: Columbia disaster; Author-Supplied Keyword: NASA; Author-Supplied Keyword: Space shuttle; NAICS/Industry Codes: 921190 Other General Government Support; NAICS/Industry Codes: 913910 Other local, municipal and regional public administration; NAICS/Industry Codes: 912910 Other provincial and territorial public administration; NAICS/Industry Codes: 911910 Other federal government public administration; NAICS/Industry Codes: 541820 Public Relations Agencies; Number of Pages: 13p; Document Type: Article