[LINK] Finally up to date on the Shuttle

Viveka listmail2@karmanaut.com
Mon, 3 Feb 2003 01:25:11 +1100


At 10:47 PM +1000 2/2/03, Ann Moffatt wrote:
>i worry that the yanks don't seem to learn lessons. they say they noticed a
>bit fall off on launch. i wonder if they informed the shuttle crew or had
>the damage inspected.
>
>my gut feel would be that they held numerous meetings of 'top brass' at hq &
>decided not to tell anyone in case they'd have the program stopped, just
>like they did with challenger when they noticed a little puff of smoke on
>takeoff. according to feynman's findings at the enquiry, they knew with 14%
>probability that the o-rings would fail and still they hushed it up.

The engineers at Morton Thiokol knew that the o-rings would fail, but 
they didn't manage to convince their management. And in truth, their 
presentation was not convincing.
Edward R. Tufte analysed the information design failure that led to 
the Challenger disaster in his book Visual Explanations , pages 
38-53. It's a great book, I recommend everyone seek it out; any 
decent reference library will have all of Tufte. If you want a quick 
look, try google: "tufte challenger". You'll find excerpts from the 
book including facsimiles of the actual presentation materials, as 
well as a redrawing of the data showing how it could have been 
presented more effectively.

There will be lessons from this as well. Large, expensive systems 
designed and run by some very smart people have failed here. I'll be 
waiting for the next edition of comp.risks.

Regards,

V.

-- 
Viveka Weiley, Karmanaut.
{ http://www.karmanaut.com | http://www.planet-earth.org
    http://www.MacWeb3D.org | http://sydney.siggraph.org.au }
Hypermedia, virtual worlds, human interface, truth, beauty.