Encyclopedia of Bioastronautics

Living Edition
| Editors: Laurence R. Young, Jeffrey P. Sutton

Human Spaceflight Accidents: The US Space Program

  • Rebecca Blue
Living reference work entry

Later version available View entry history

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-10152-1_64-1


In this chapter, the history of mishaps and accidents within the US space program is examined in order to provide context and understanding of how mishaps occur, ways in which they can be prevented or mitigated, and identify common factors therein. In particular, this entry identifies the role of human error, on the part of the crew and the support teams, and how human influence can alter the risk of mishap both positively and negatively.


There has been a paradigm shift over the last century as humans have ventured past the atmosphere to attempt further, longer, and more challenging spaceflight missions. The glory of the early Mercury program, the fascination of Apollo – these early days that incited public interest and captured human imagination are gone. Today, spaceflight is considered achievable, commonplace, and not very noteworthy. Rarely do stories of spaceflight reach the front pages; in fact, rarely do such stories make the news at all. However, spaceflight...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Burrough B (1998) Dragonfly: NASA and the crisis aboard Mir. Harper Collins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  2. Chaikin AA (1994) Man on the moon: the voyages of the apollo astronauts. Viking Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Evans B (2007) Space shuttle challenger: 10 journeys into the unknown. Springer Praxis Publishing, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  4. Lovell J, Kluger J (1994) Lost moon: the perilous voyage of Apollo 13. Houghton Miffin, BostonGoogle Scholar
  5. Shayler DJ (2000) Disasters and accidents in manned spaceflight. Springer Praxis Publishing, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Stepaniak PC (2014) Loss of signal: aeromedical lessons learned from the STS-107 columbia space shuttle mishap. NASA Special Publication, Washington, DC. NASA/SP-2014-616Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Blue
    • 1
  1. 1.Aerospace Medicine and Vestibular Research LaboratoryThe Mayo Clinic, ArizonaScottsdaleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jonathan Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology/ Center for Space MedicineBaylor College Of MedicineHoustonUSA