Engineer and author tells story behind space shuttle disaster


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – An engineer who tried to stop the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986 will give a free talk at the University of Louisville on Nov. 3 about the ill-fated project.

    Allan McDonald, co-author of “Truth, Lies and O-Rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster,” will speak at Gheens Science Hall and Rauch Planetarium at 7:30 p.m. McDonald formerly directed the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project for Morton Thiokol Inc. The event is open to the public.

    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 also talks 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 found out McDonald was visiting UofL to speak to engineering students, she asked if he would be willing to share his presentation with the general public.

    “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 Connolly at 502-852-0586.

    Cindy Hess
    Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.