Re: An urban legend regarding documentation?

Subject: Re: An urban legend regarding documentation?
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 07:57:22 -0800

I can't address all possible variations on this possibility, but I am
aware of one incident involving several engineers and a manager
at Morton Thiokol who attempted to persuade NASA and MT
management that the launch should not take place due to concerns
about o-ring failure. Their recommendations were disregarded
due to a "lack of documentation" regarding o-ring failure modes,
but the "documentation" that was considered lacking in this case
consisted of development test reports and post-flight teardown
records, neither of which noted observed damage to o-rings under
actual engine burn conditions that might have supported their
concerns. None of this data would have been produced by technical
writers, it would have come from test and maintenance technicians
and/or engineers. This incident is well documented in both official
and popular accounts of the Challenger disaster, and I used to pin
copies of the reports to my office bulletin board as examples of
inadequate testing when I was a test engineer. Others may have
"appropriated" the account and made a few small changes to it to
support their particular sacred cows.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gilda Spitz" <gaspitz -at- longview -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2003 6:59 AM
Subject: An urban legend regarding documentation?

I have a question about the Challenger disaster, regarding its documentation.

I heard a rumour that the person writing documentation for NASA wanted to insert
a warning regarding the O rings, but was instructed to omit it. I suspect this
is an urban legend, but I haven't been able to find anything relevant on my
usual Urban Legend Web site.

Does anyone in Techwr-l know anything about this, to either prove or disprove
the story?

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An urban legend regarding documentation?: From: Gilda Spitz

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