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On January 28, 1986 NASA lost seven astronauts when a booster engine failed, causing the Shuttle Challenger to break apart just 73 seconds after launch. But what exactly went wrong during the launch and in the preparations for the big day that led to such a catastrophic failure? Engineers at Morton Thiokol had warned managers not to launch as the “O” rings that sealed off the segments of the boosters might not expand as planned, but they were ignored. Worse still, this problem had been noticed from the very beginning of the Shuttle problem, but was covered up to give NASA the commercial edge in sending satellites into space. Seven astronauts died and the Shuttle program suspended.
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