Wednesday, October 05, 2005

NASA Website Analysis: Challenger Transcript

History of Challenger and Investigation
What I found the most interesting and the most moving was the transcript from the Challenger crew pre-launch up to the point that they lost contact. I thought that it was impressive that NASA shared this information on the internet where anyone could access it. The transcript provides a chilling account of the seconds before the launch, it shows the crew getting excited for their liftoff and then it ends with the ominous last words “uhoh” before they lose contact. It shows that the crew realized something was wrong only seconds before the explosion and up to that point had no idea.

History of Columbia and Investigation
In my search of the Columbia disaster website I came across this statement from Senator McCain in response to the CAIB report. He reminds us that the space program is still in “developmental stages” and that space is still a dangerous and uncharted area. But he specifically talks about how the culture at NASA has changed to include flawed decision making and a “diminished curiosity about the world outside.” He then introduces O’Keefe saying he wants to hear about these cultural changes.

Organizational Culture and Climate of NASA
Looking at the vision for the future of space exploration gave a tone that the culture of NASA is one that is focused on rebuilding go further than ever before. The website discusses the design for the new spacecraft that will be used in lunar missions. The website also stresses the new design to be safe as well as reliable and affordable. I found the video depiction of a future mission using the new spaceship the most interesting. NASA seems to again be in the developmental stages, which creates a culture of new beginnings and the desire to rebuild and succeed.