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Collected Reports of the Pane] on Technical Evaluation of NASA's Redesign of the Space Shuttle Solic] Rocket Booster of the Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems National Academy Press Washington, D.C. 1988
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NOTICE: The project that is the subject of these reports was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the panel responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. The reports have been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to pro- cedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Frank Press is President of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a paraDe! organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is President of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is President of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in ac- cordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scien- tific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Printed in the United States of America
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PANEL ON TECHNICAL EVALUATION OF NASA'S REDESIGN OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE SOLID ROCKET BOOSTER H. GUYFORD STEVER,*+ Former Science & Technology Advisor to President Gerald R. Ford, Chairman LAURENCE J. ADAMS,+ Martin Marietta Corporation (Ret.) DAVID ALTMAN, United Technologies Corporation (Ret.) ROBERT C. ANDERSON, TRW, Inc. (Ret.) JACK L. BLUMENTHAL, TRW, Inc. ROBERT C. FORNEY, E.~. DuPont Nemours & Co. ALAN N. GENT, University of Akron DEAN K. HANINK, General Motors (Ret.) JAMES W. MAR,+ Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Vice Chairman EDWARD W. PRICE, Georgia Institute of Technology ROBERT D. WATT, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (Ret.) Staff MYRON F. UMAN, Project Director VIVIANE A. SCOTT, Administrative Assistant (until January, 1987) TERRIE NOBLE, Administrative Assistant (beginning January, 1987) ~Member, National Academy of Sciences +Member, National Academy of Engineering · · ~ 111
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Contents ,, Preface Interim Report #1, August 1, 1986 Interim Report #2, October 10, 1986 Interim Report #3, January 15, 1987 Interim Report #4, June 22, 1987 Interim Report #5, November 20, 1987 Interim Report #6, March 17, 1988 Interim Report #7, September 9, 1988 Final Report, December 21, 1988 Appendix A: Biographical Data of Panel Members Appendix B: Illustrations Appendix C: Thickness of Agenda Books Page · ~ V11 7 15 25 33 37 47 59 72 77 109
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Preface i; On January 28, 1986, the Orbiter Challenger and its crew were lost in an explosion during the ascent of National Space Transportation System mission 51-~. The Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, chaired by William P. Rogers, attributed the explosion to a sequence of events, beginning with a failure in a joint in one of the two solid propellant rockets used in the Space Shuttle. In response to a recommendation of the Rogers Commission, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) asked the National Research Council (NRC) to form an inclependent panel to provide technical evaluations of the redesign, testing, and certification of the booster and of the manufacture and assembly of the pair used in the first flight after the accident. This volume contains the reports of the Panel to the Administrator of NASA. The Pane} met frequently with engineers and managers of NASA, its contractors, and subcontractors between June, 1986 and December, 1988. AH told, the Pane! participated in 98 meetings, technical interchanges, reviews, conferences, and site visits during this period. It also reviewed innumerable documents, which were supplied by NASA and its principal contractors, Morton Thiokol, Tnc. and United Space Boosters, Inc. Its eight reports were prepared at various stages in the program. The Panel's membership is described in Appendix A. It was organized within the National Research Council under the auspices of the Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems' Committee on NASA Scientific and Technological Program Reviews. Appendix B contains a selection of illustrations that help to characterize the redesign and testing program. · ~ V11
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