Talk Looks Inside Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

Press Release From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012

On Tuesday, Oct. 2, at NASA's Langley Research Center here, Allan McDonald will present, "Truth, Lies and O-rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster," from his book by same name.

McDonald, former director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for the engineering contractor Morton Thiokol, had warned NASA not to launch the Challenger prior to its destruction in January 1986.

McDonald will be available to answer questions from the media during a news briefing at 1:15 p.m. that day. Media who wish to do so should contact Chris Rink at 757-864-6786, or by e-mail at, by noon on the day of the talk for credentials and entry to the Center.
That same evening at 7:30, McDonald will host a similar presentation for the general public at the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton. This Sigma Series event is free and no reservations are required.

McDonald's lecture will focus on the pressures to launch Challenger and the aftermath of the disaster. Written with the assistance of former NASA historian James Hansen, McDonald's book addresses the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA's Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.

McDonald retired in 2001 from ATK Thiokol Propulsion after a 42-year career with the company. He was the director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time of the Challenger accident and led the redesign of the solid rocket motors as Vice President of Engineering for Space Operations.

He is a Fellow member and a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Orbital Technologies Corporation in Madison, Wisconsin.

For more information about NASA Langley's Colloquium and Sigma Series lectures, visit:

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