Technological Risks and Accidents

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


This chapter focuses on the technological risks taken in space exploration. In addition, the US accidents that resulted in loss of life are discussed—the Apollo 1 fire (1967), the Challenger explosion (1986), and the Columbia disintegration (2003). The resulting discussion addresses technical reasons for each accident as well as a look into the NASA culture and timeline issues that affected each program event. Recent private enterprise space accidents (SpaceShipTwo and SpaceX rocket) are also addressed with reflections on the associated risks of space flight.


Antares rocket built by Orbital Sciences Apollo 1 Apollo Command and Service Module Burt Rutan Challenger Christa McAuliffe Columbia Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) Ed White Elon Musk Falcon 9 Gus Grissom John Glenn Michael Smith Morton-Thiokol O-rings President John F. Kennedy Roger Chaffee Sir Richard Branson SpaceX Thermal Protection System (TPS) Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo WhiteKnightTwo Zipper effect 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Arts and SciencesUniversity of WashingtonTacomaUSA

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