Re: Get Offended

Subject: Re: Get Offended
From: John_F_Renish -at- notes -dot- seagate -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 1 May 2000 14:11:38 -0700

Tim Alton wrote:

the reason for the shuttle o-ring catastrophe wasn't marketing, but
lousy decision-making. Morton-Thiokol engineers argued long and hard with
NASA officials that the ambient temperature was too low to trust the
o-rings, which MT didn't design to be flexible at the startlingly low
temperature that day. NASA officials made the fateful decision

Since we're talking about "truth", here's a little reality check: NASA
officials made the fateful decision on a political consideration, and that
many years before the disaster. A former Aerojet General employee told me
that Aerojet had proposed and demonstrated a _cheaper_ one-piece solid-fuel
booster, but it wasn't their "turn" to win the contract (we _could_ call
that a marketing failure), so NASA officials selected the fatally flawed
Morton-Thiokol design. Concentration on the o-ring failure has provided a
lot of fun for conspiracy and government-incompetence buffs, but it has
also served to cover up the root cause.

Technical writing tie-in: The reality of a situation might be very
different from what "everybody" tells us.

John_F_Renish -at- notes -dot- seagate -dot- com, San Jose, California, USA
"A collision at sea can ruin your entire day."
--Thucydides (yes, I know it's spurious)

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