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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Acronyms
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing Information
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Bibliography

  • Contributing Institution: Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Leatherby Libraries
    Title: Roger and Roberta Boisjoly NASA Challenger disaster collection
    Creator: Boisjoly, R. M. (Roger M.)
    source: Boisjoly, R. M. (Roger M.)
    Identifier/Call Number: 2010.017.r
    Physical Description: 14.5 Linear Feet 13 containers total (12 cartons and 1 large flat-box)
    Date (inclusive): 1954-2012
    Date (bulk): 1980s-1990s
    Abstract: This collection spans from 1954 to 2012 and contains Roger Boisjoly's professional and personal papers regarding the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and his engineering career.
    Physical Location: Leatherby Libraries
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access

    Though this collection is open for research, it should be noted that it is not fully arranged and described.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Gift of Roger and Roberta Boisjoly in 2010 and 2016. Also, gift of Gene K. Baxter in 2014.


    This collection is organized by material type into six series that include several subseries:
    • Series 1, Roger Boisjoly papers, 1980-2012, bulk: 1980s-1990s
    • ----Subseries 1, Correspondence, business, 1986-1999
    • ----Subseries 2, Memoranda, Morton Thiokol Inc., internal, 1980-1986
    • ----Subseries 3, Logbooks, SRM Seal Task Team, daily, 1984-1986
    • ----Subseries 4, Class material, Space Shuttle Challenger and business ethics, 1985-2003
    • ----Subseries 5, Articles and lectures, Space Shuttle Challenger, 1986-2009
    • ----Subseries 6, Transcripts, Boisjoly v. Morton Thiokol Inc., 1987-1988
    • ----Subseries 7, Photographs, O-ring tests, 1984-1985
    • ----Subseries 8, Transcripts, Smith, et al. v. Morton Thiokol Inc., 1988
    • ----Subseries 9, Clippings, 1986-2012
    • ----Subseries 10, Business, Boisjoly Engineering LTD, 1987-2003
    • ----Subseries 11, Papers and memorabilia, personal, 1981-2006
    • Series 2, Audio/video and digital media, 1986-2006
    • ----Subseries 1, Radio interviews, 1987-1996
    • ----Subseries 2, Lectures, presentations and book floppy disks, 1988-2003
    • ----Subseries 3, Television broadcasts, 1986-2006
    • Series 3, Space Shuttle Challenger ephemera, 1986-1994
    • Series 4, Space Shuttle Challenger disaster reports, 1986-1991
    • ----Subseries 1, Report, Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, 1986
    • ----Subseries 2, Report, Space Shuttle Challenger Accident by Richard Cook, 1986
    • ----Subseries 3, Report, Boisjoly's testimony to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight: NASA's Midlife Crisis: Context for Reform, 1991
    • ----Subseries 4, Report, Investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, 1986
    • Series 5, Awards given to Roger Boisjoly, 1987-1995
    • Series 6, Forensic engineering papers, 1954-1995, bulk: 1970s-1995
    • ----Subseries 1, Books, 1954-1974
    • ----Subseries 2, Papers, legal, 1986-1996
    • ----Subseries 3, Papers, professional, 1971-1995
    • ----Subseries 4, Papers, patent applications, 1964-1995
    • ----Subseries 5, Papers, safety, 1977-1993
    • ----Subseries 6, Photographs, circa 1990
    • ----Subseries 7, VHS tapes, 1987-1991
    • ----Subseries 8, Wooden dowel, circa 1990

    Biographical / Historical

    Roger Boisjoly (1938-2012) was a mechanical engineer, fluid dynamicist and an aerodynamicist who worked for Morton Thiokol, Inc., the manufacturer of the solid rocket motors for NASA's Space Shuttle Program. He is best known for raising objections to the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger the day before the loss of the spacecraft and its crew.
    The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when the spacecraft broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.


    Below is a list of acronyms used in this collection:
    • ASRM – advanced solid rocket motor
    • MSFC – Marshall Space Flight Center
    • MTI – Morton Thiokol Inc., also known as Thiokol Corporation, Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), and ATK Thiokol
    • NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    • RSRM – reusable solid rocket motor
    • SRB – solid rocket booster
    • SRM – solid rocket motor
    • SLS – Space Launch System
    • STS – Space Transportation System, Space Shuttle
    • STS-51L – Space Shuttle Challenger's last mission, 1986 January 28

    Preferred Citation

    [Item title / description; Box "n" / Folder "n"], Roger and Roberta Boisjoly NASA Challenger disaster collection, Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives, Chapman University, CA. For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Rand Boyd in 2010 and updated by Wendy Gonaver in 2020. Last updated by Victoria Perez as of October 2023.
    Though this collection is open for research, it is not fully arranged and described. There are at least 3 linear feet left to process that consist of class and lecture material given by Boisjoly, A/V material of his lectures, as well as several Mbs of digital files to process and describe.
    This resource follows NASA's preferred naming conventions listed online in the "Style Guide for NASA History Authors and Editors" found in the Bibliography note. These include referring to a spacecraft as the "Space Shuttle Challenger" in roman text and a mission as "STS-51L." The words "Space Shuttle" should be capitalized, such as in "Space Shuttle mission." An exception in this resource includes retaining the collection's original title.

    Related Materials

    Researchers will also find of interest this repository's Linda and Allan J. McDonald NASA Challenger disaster archives (2016.002.s.r) that contain Allan's personal and engineering papers and the Mark Maier NASA Challenger disaster collection (2010.002.r). Both collections contain extensive material on the Space Shuttle Challenger investigation.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection contains Roger Boisjoly's professional and personal papers that span from 1954 to 2012 and cover his engineering career, the development of NASA's Space Shuttle solid rocket motor and the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. These materials include Boisjoly's personal and business correspondence, memoranda, logbooks, class materials, articles and lectures, legal transcripts, photographs, clippings, government reports, audio/visual media, ephemera, awards, and forensic engineering papers.
    Besides copies of Boisjoly's Presidential Commission and congressional testimony, there are copies of testimony from other participants and the complete report made by the United States House of Representatives' Committee on Science and Technology.

    Conditions Governing Use

    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.


    Barry, Bill (NASA Chief Historian) and Stephen Garber (NASA Official). Style Guide for NASA History Authors and Editors. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. February 23, 2018. https://history.nasa.gov/printFriendly/styleguide.html.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Solid propellant rockets
    Challenger (Spacecraft) -- Accidents
    United States. -- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident
    Forensic engineering
    Boisjoly, R. M. (Roger M.)