Old, but relevant, to me and many others my age. I remember watching this happen, and it turned me off becoming an astronaut forever:
“Well, the question was, did the cold weather (because it was a very, unusually cold day) affect the performance of the O-rings? Everyone was saying, “No, no, no!” because they were covering their rear ends. Richard Feynman, who was the Nobel Prize winner in physics, was on this commission. He took an O-ring and he stuck it in a glass of ice water, took it out, and snapped it. Then nobody could deny it. But all up the line, the management had just ignored the evidence. The reason is because Ronald Reagan was supposed to be doing his State of the Union speech that night. He wanted to be able to say, “We have civilians in space!” There was a lot of pressure to launch it. So they said, “We’re going to go ahead and launch it even though the weather’s too cold.” So, they went ahead and launched it, and it blew up. I felt like we had blown those people up—like we at NASA had failed those people. That completely took the wind out of my sails.”
I get so angry when politics trumps coming fucking sense.