The shuttle Challenger launched in January 1986, carrying the first manned spaceflight.
Its final launch occurred in March 1990.
The Challenger is one of only two shuttle launches to be destroyed in the line of duty, and its destruction was one of the deadliest tragedies in history.
In a final act of defiance against the military-dominated space program, Challenger was destroyed in a rocket explosion at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on April 29, 1990.NASA is still debating whether or not the Challenger disaster is worth preserving as an example of how far the government should go in its pursuit of human spaceflight, a mission that was once the ultimate goal of America’s space program.
The shuttle Challenger was one example of the program’s flaws, including poor design and poor engineering, as well as a poor record of reaching its goals, according to NASA’s inspector general, William J. Kelly.
The report’s findings, which were published on Monday, also found that the shuttle’s development was plagued by delays and that the Challenger launch failed to meet NASA’s schedule.
The findings, by a group of former astronauts and others who served on the shuttle program, came as part of a wider inquiry by Kelly, who also was the head of NASA’s Office of Inspector General from 1997 to 2004.
Kelly found that NASA’s mission management was not “fully transparent,” that the launch was delayed by too many issues, that the agency failed to fully disclose all the problems that caused the Challenger to fail, and that “unaccountable” officials “acted in an unethical manner.”
Kelly also said that NASA lacked a clear policy on when the agency should be pursuing space flight, which was “unrealistic,” and that NASA should have required all launches to meet certain goals.
Kelly recommended that NASA work with the aerospace industry to develop a “new, flexible spaceflight policy” to improve the agency’s oversight and accountability, but he did not specify what that policy would look like.
Kelly’s report was released as NASA and other government agencies prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of the Challenger explosion, which killed seven crew members and destroyed the Challenger, an American space shuttle.NASA’s inspector General, William Kelly, on Tuesday released a report on the Challenger tragedy, saying the program had been plagued by poor design, poor engineering and an “unacceptable record of achieving its mission goals.”
The inspector general said the Challenger was built “as a demonstration of the value of a manned spacecraft for the United States.”
In a statement, Kelly said he was “particularly concerned by the lack of a clearly defined strategy and process for when the United Nations should provide additional funding for NASA.”NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has said that the administration has been working on a new strategy to boost the nation’s space effort and that it will include a plan for launching astronauts in the next decade.NASA has been exploring a wide range of options for developing a manned space program since the Challenger accident, including a manned mission to the moon by the 2030s.
NASA’s current human space flight program includes the Orion spacecraft that is set to launch in 2022, and the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) that is currently in development.