Discussion

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For this module discussion activity, provide your response to the following:

One area that Systems Safety really doesn’t delve into much is that of corporate culture. The Management Oversight Risk Tree Analysis (MORT) can be used to discuss some of the areas where management may have failed but nothing really covers the culture of the company or organization. As we saw in the Challenger crash, the culture of pushing the launch even though multiple engineers said they should delay was a huge factor in why the explosion happened. In the end of the video on the Columbia crash (starting at 43:40 in the video), they discuss the culture at NASA and the fact that they knew a piece of foam had hit the wing and shattered on takeoff but didn’t give it a second thought. The reason for that is because if a long investigation came from it, the next launch might be delayed. NASA was being pushed by Congress to finish the space station and they did not want a delay.

So, for this week’s discussion there are two questions:

  1. How did the culture at NASA contribute to both of these crashes?
  2. Had the culture at NASA changed in the 17 years since the crash of the Challenger or was it just business as usual and they had just been “lucky”?
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