News from the College of Education & Human Development

Engineer and Author Reveals Story Behind the Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster

October 26, 2009 in College News, Planetarium News

Where were you when the Challenger disaster happened? Many of us will never forget that day. For Allan J. McDonald, former Director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton Thiokol Inc., and co-author of Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster, Challenger became a defining moment in his life.

McDonald will give a behind-the-scenes talk at the Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium, 7:30 p.m., November 3, about his experience. The event is free and open to the public.

He will take you inside the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as one of the engineers involved in the mission who tried to stop the launch. McDonald will describe the sequence of events and discussions held the night before the launch and the horror of watching the shuttle disintegrate shortly after its launch. He will also talk about why he refused to sign the launch recommendation and his role in the subsequent Presidential Commission hearings.

Planetarium director Rachel Connolly said that when she learned McDonald was visiting UofL to speak to engineering students, she asked if he would be willing to share his presentation with the general public.  “We are thrilled to have him at the planetarium,” stated Connolly.

“The Challenger disaster was a defining moment in our nation’s history,” said Connolly. “It continues to shape our manned spaceflight program and has implications for our future of exploration.”

For more information about McDonald’s presentation, contact Rachel at 502-852-0586.