Ethical issues in Space Shuttle Disasters


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Ethical issues in Space Shuttle Disasters. No, I would not make the same decisions as engineers did in the case of Space shuttle Columbia or Space Shuttle challenger. In both cases working-level engineers most familiar with the relevant systems expressed timely concerns that could have averted the disaster, and their concerns were overridden. The main blame for the engineers is that despite noticing some anomalies they did not strongly oppose the launch for the fear of their careers. It is therefore correct to conclude that work level engineers overlooked safety for the need to preserve their careers.

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The main problem with the NASA engineers is their inaction. They allowed managers who had no professional background to overrule them. In engineering ethics, the need to preserve safety should come before ones career.

An engineer should not fear to lose his or her job if it means to respect his professional background. While I recognize the complex problem that the engineers faced, professional ethics should prevail in all. However, beside the engineers’ inaction, it is also important to note that the ethical issues in the two disasters went beyond the boundaries of professionalism to the overall ethics of organizational culture. This means that for professional ethics to prevail, NASA should also be reformed to be an institution that respects and upholds professionalism.

Works cited

 Ferraris, Claire & Carveth, Rodney. NASA and the Columbia Disaster: Decision-making by Groupthink? New York: Western Oregon University.

Rodgers Commission. Report of the Presidential Commission on the space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Web May 2, 1986 <http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/51-l/docs/rogers-commission/table-of-contents.html> Web March 28, 2012.

Rossow, Mark. Engineering Ethics Case Study: The Challenger Disaster. Web 2012 http://www.cedengineering.com/upload/Ethics%20Challenger%20Disaster.pdf > Web March 28, 2012.