Final Voyage of the Challenger

  • Reference: HBS-607S13

  • Year: 1970

  • Geographic Setting: United States

  • Publication Date: Nov 28, 1990

  • Fecha de edición: Nov 6, 1991

  • Source: HBSP (USA)

  • Type of Document: Case

  • Industry Setting: Aerospace

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Provides a summary of technical and organizational details that led to the decision to launch the Challenger Space Shuttle, and to the ensuing accident. Details of design and testing milestones of the Space Shuttle, with a focus on the Solid Rocket Booster, offer opportunities for project management and organizational analysis. NASA's risk management structure and its use for the Space Shuttle program exposes students to issues of risk associated with the use of technology. Principles of engineering versus managerial decision making, the role of professional knowledge, and issues related to data representation, and qualitative versus quantitative analysis are addressed. Some issues of professional ethics and individual responsibilities, as related to complex decision making in a technology intensive environment are presented in a context of a crisis situation. The analysis of the case should include assessment of project management, and ideas about organizational changes to avoid recurrence.


Business ethics Decision making Engineering Product development Project management Risk management Technology