Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age
On January 28, 1986, NASA launched shuttle mission 51-L, despite concerns about the freezing weather that had arrived in Florida overnight. Seventy-three seconds into the launch, Challenger exploded, killing seven people and leaving the world to wonder and mourn.
Six months earlier, Richard C. Cook, the lead resource analyst at NASA for the solid rocket boosters, had written a memo that warned of catastrophic failure, based on meetings with headquarters engineers. The warnings were ignored by NASA officials, who refused to stop shuttle flights despite escalating concerns within the agency and Morton Thiokol, the booster contractor.
In the aftermath of the explosion, NASA launched an investigation to “discover” its cause. Though within NASA there was certainty about the O-ring joint failure in a solid rocket booster, they publicly proclaimed that the cause of the explosion was unknown. A Reagan administration Presidential Commission seemed determined to protect NASA from criticism. When Cook realized that a cover-up had begun, he leaked a series of O-ring warning documents to the New York Times. This set off a cascade of disclosures about the events leading up to the disaster, including revelations by Morton Thiokol engineers that they had tried to stop the launch.
Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age is Richard C. Cook’s personal story of how he disrupted the cover-ups surrounding the Challenger disaster. Challenger Revealed identifies a complex web of underlying causes for the catastrophe, including the militarization of the manned space program, a right-wing coup that subverted NASA’s leadership, chronic insufficient funding, use of the Teacher-in-Space program with Christa McAuliffe as a publicity prop, and top-down command-and-control management.
Cook’s narrative contains a host of details never before published, including his meetings with the New York Times, accounts of crucial meetings he attended at NASA before the disaster, as well as documents from the National Archives showing how the Commission covered up the White House involvement. With a stunning ending, Challenger Revealed is the only book published on the Challenger disaster by an insider who participated in the events.
Challenger Revealed is now available on Amazon as a downloadable Kindle book.
Challenger Revealed is now in a number of important libraries such as NASA headquarters, Virginia Tech, and the Singapore Polytechnic Library. An Amazon reviewer called it “the most important space flight book in the last 20 years.” Publisher’s Weekly called it “meticilously documented,” “easily the most important and informative book on the disaster,” and “the first truly comprehensive book on what happened on January 28, 1986, and why.”
Check out the new review of Challenger Revealed by Daniel White. Click Here