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Finding Aid for the Mark Maier NASA Challenger Disaster Collection 2010.02.r
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Use note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Related Archival Materials note
  • Scope and Contents note
  • Conditions Governing Access note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Arrangement note

  • Title: Mark Maier NASA Challenger Disaster A/V Collection
    Identifier/Call Number: 2010.02.r
    Contributing Institution: Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries
    One University Drive
    Orange, CA, 92866
    (714) 532 - 7711
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.8 Linear feet (4 file boxes, 1 document box, 1 flat box)
    Date (bulk): Bulk, 1986
    Date (inclusive): 1985-2006
    Location note: Leatherby Libraries
    Abstract: This collection consists of a number of videotapes and some text material collected by Professor Mark Maier that deals with the NASA Challenger disaster and its aftermath.

    Conditions Governing Use note

    There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

    Biographical/Historical note

    The NASA Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986 when Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. Disintegration of the entire vehicle began after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster failed at liftoff. The disaster resulted in the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The Presidential Commission found that NASA's organizational culture and decision-making processes had been a key contributing factor to the accident. NASA managers had known that contractor Morton Thiokol's design of the solid rocket boosters contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings, but they failed to address it properly. They also disregarded warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning.
    Roger Boisjoly, an engineer who worked for Morton Thiokol, raised objections to the launch of the Challenger. In July 1985, Boisjoly wrote a memo to his superiors concerning the faulty design of the solid rocket boosters that, if left unaddressed, could lead to a catastrophic event, which was apparently ignored. Following the announcement that the Challenger mission was confirmed for January 28, 1986, Boisjoly and his colleagues tried to stop the flight. Temperatures were due to be −1 °C overnight. He felt that this would severely compromise the safety of the O-Ring. Boisjoly was one of the witnesses called during the Presidential Commission hearings. He gave accounts of how and why he felt the O-Rings had failed. Boisjoly later became a speaker on workplace ethics.
    Richard C. Cook was a Resource Analyst at NASA's Comptroller's Office. NASA officials ignored a memo Cook wrote which detailed engineering concerns and warnings from the shuttle builders at Morton Thiokol regarding a flaw in the SRB O-rings. In 2007, his memoirs of the tragedy were published in a book entitled, Challenger Revealed: An Insider’s Account of How the Reagan Administration Caused the Greatest Tragedy of the Space Age.
    Mark Maier, Ph. D is Associate Professor and Program Chair, Leadership & Organization Studies; Director, The Chapman Leadership Project; Director, Chapman Human Diversity Program. As a professor at Chapman University, his areas of teaching and consulting expertise include: servant-leadership, diversity, team development and ethical decision making.

    Related Archival Materials note

    Researchers will also find of interest the Roger Boisjoly NASA Challenger Disaster Collection (2010.17.r) as it contains his personal papers as well as extensive material on the Challenger investigation.

    Scope and Contents note

    This collection holds videos, images, and transcripts regarding the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. A/V materials comprise of NASA footage and programs on the Challenger accident. It also consists of videos of the Presidential Commission hearings from February 25 to February 27, 1986, as well as transcripts from the Presidential Commission Report. Various lectures and interviews by Roger Boisjoly are included on workplace ethics.
    Other materials in the collection are an interview and article by Richard Cook, and papers from Professor Mark Maier regarding the disaster. A noteworthy item is an O-Ring sample. Posters with various Challenger images and a Florida license plate are also contained.

    Conditions Governing Access note

    This collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation note

    [identify item], Mark Maier NASA Challenger Disaster Collection (2010.02.r)], Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Chapman University, CA.

    Arrangement note

    This collection is organized by material type series except for series 3-5 which are organized by the subject/creator of the material.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Boisjoly, R. M., (Roger M.), 1938- -- History
    Cook, Richard C., 1946-
    Maier, Mark, Ph.D., Prof., (John Marcus)
    Challenger (Spacecraft) -- Accidents
    Faculty papers