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Running head: Responsibility in Engineering 1

Responsibility in Engineering
Justin Tallent
Grantham University

RESPONSIBILITY IN ENGINEERING 2

The Challenger and Columbia incidents were both tragedies and horrible accidents, and are being used as case studies of the importance of proper ethics in engineering and other fields. In this paper we will discuss key details and break down what caused the incidents and what could have been done to alleviate the situation, and which parts of each disaster was the result of negligence.

Responsibility in Engineering 3

Responsibility in Engineering
The space shuttle Challenger disaster is a famous case of the breakdown of professional ethics. On January 28,1986 the Challenger shuttle broke into pieces a little over a minute into flight. The disaster began after an o-ring on the right side solid fuel booster failed, causing a fuel leak which resulted in the structural failure of the right side external fuel tank, which ultimately destroyed the entire shuttle. Government researchers have pinpointed the main cause of the incident to be flaws in the organizational structure and decision-making. The top brass of NASA had known that there were grave design flaws in the o-ring seals and other components for close to a decade, but failed to address the problem. Many key components were not made to withstand temperatures under 40 degrees and despite engineers warning them of the dangers attempting the launch in the 18 degree temperature that day they went ahead with the launch. The disaster spurred an investigation and the implementation of new safety measures, redesign of the boosters,and new decision making policies.The disaster was mainly caused due to human error and the disregard for safety held by the decisionmakers.

   

The space shuttle Columbia accident happened on February 1, 2003 when the shuttle disintegrated and killed all seven crew members. During launch a piece of foam insulation broke away from the...

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