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American Human Spaceflight Accidents

Updated: April 2012

This pathfinder covers five American manned spacecraft accidents: the Apollo I fire in January of 1967, the crash of X-15 no. 3 in November of 1967, the near-loss of Apollo XIII in April of 1970, the destruction of Challenger in January of 1986, and the disintegration of Columbia in February of 2003. Biographies of the lost astronauts are listed at Astronaut Biographies. You may also find useful resources in our pages on Technical and Safety Risk Management, Corporate Culture, and Knowledge Management.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: call (358-0172) or email Library@hq.nasa.gov for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items. Members of the public, contact your local library for the availability of these items. NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions about this webpage.


Contents: Books E-books Hearings and Reports Internet Resources

Books

Avera, Randy. The Truth About Challenger. Good Hope, GA: Randolph Pub., 2002. ISBN: 1932258000
TL795.5 .A94 2003 BOOKSTACKS
 
Bergaust, Erik. Murder on Pad 34. New York, Putnam, 1968.
TL789.8.U6 A52 1968 BOOKSTACKS
 
Burgess, Colin, Kate Doolan, and Bert Vis. Fallen Astronauts. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2003. ISBN: 0803213328
TL789.85 .A1 B86 2003 BOOKSTACKS
 
Burns, Christopher. Deadly Decisions: How False Knowledge Sank the Titanic, Blew Up the Shuttle and Led America into War. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2008. ISBN: 9781591026600
AZ999 .B89 2008 BOOKSTACKS
 
Cabbage, Michael and William Harwood. Comm Check: The Final Flight of Shuttle Columbia. New York: Free Press, 2004. ISBN: 0743260910
TL867 .C33 2004 BOOKSTACKS
 
Cooper, Henry S. F. Thirteen: The Flight that Failed. New York, Dial Press, 1972.
TL789.8.U6 C62 1973 BOOKSTACKS
 
Godwin, Robert (ed.). Apollo 13: The NASA Mission Reports. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2000. ISBN: 1896522556
TL789.8.U6 A5448 2000 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. X-15: The NASA Mission Reports, Incorporating Files from the USAF. Burlington, Ont.: Apogee Books, 2000. ISBN: 1896522653
TL789.8 .U6 X32 2000 BOOKSTACKS
 
Jones, Chris. Too Far From Home: A Story of Life and Death in Space. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2007. ISBN: 0385514654
TL867 .J66 2007 BOOKSTACKS
 
Lovell, Jim, and Jeffrey Kluger. Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. ISBN: 0395670292
TL789.8.U6 A5488 1994 BOOKSTACKS
 
Mahler, Julianne G., and Maureen Hogan Casamayou. Organizational Learning at NASA: The Challenger and Columbia Accidents. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781589012660
TL521.312 .M32 2009 BOOKSTACKS
 
McDonald, Allan J., and James R. Hansen. Truth, Lies, and O-rings: Inside the Space Shuttle Disaster. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida, 2009. ISBN: 9780813033266
TL867 .M3625 2009 BOOKSTACKS
 
Miller, Susan Burgess. Lessons Learned or Lessons Noted: A Retrospective Case Study of the Stored Organizational Memory of the Causes of Mishaps in NASA. Thesis (Ed.D.)--George Washington University, 2005.
TL521.3 .L47 2005 PPM-STACKS
 
Shayler, David. Disasters and Accidents in Manned Spaceflight. London; New York: Springer; Chichester, U.K.: Praxis Pub., 2000. ISBN: 1852332255
TL867 .S53 2000 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Space Rescue: Ensuring the Safety of Manned Spaceflight. Berlin, Germany; New York, NY: Springer; Chichester, UK: Published in association with Praxis, 2009. ISBN: 0387699058
TL867 .S535 2009 BOOKSTACKS
 
Starbuck, William H., and Moshe Farjoun. Organization at the Limit: Lessons from the Columbia Disaster. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2005. ISBN: 140513108X
TL867 .O74 2005 PPM-STACKS
 
Thompson, Milton O. At the Edge of Space: The X-15 Flight Program. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992. ISBN: 1560981075
TL789.8.U6 X578 1992 BOOKSTACKS
 
Tompkins, Phillip K. Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational Communication. Los Angeles, CA: Roxbury Pub. Co., 2005. ISBN: 1931719322
TL867 .T65 2004 BOOKSTACKS
 
Vaughan, Diane. The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN: 0226851753
TL867 .C467 1996 BOOKSTACKS

E-books

All e-books listed here are available to NASA civil servants and contractors through the Books 24x7 service of SATERN.
 
Annis Hammond, Sue. The Thin Book of Naming Elephants: How to Surface Undiscussables for Greater Organizational Success. Thin Book Publishing, 2004.
 
Guthrie, Ruth, and Conrad Shayo. "The Columbia Disaster: Culture, Communication, and Change", in: Cases on Information Technology: Lessons Learned, vol. VII, IGI Global, 2006.

Hearings and Reports

Apollo 13 Review Board. Report of Apollo 13 Review Board. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1970.
TL789.8.U6 A59 BOOKSTACKS
 
Manned Spacecraft Center. Mission Evaluation Team. Apollo 13 Mission Report. Houston, TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Manned Spacecraft Center, 1970.
TL789.8.U6 A54 1970 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. Apollo Program Office. Status of Actions Taken on Recommendations of the Apollo 204 Accident Review Board. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1968.
KF24.8 .A1 FY 1969 V. 7 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. Columbia Accident Investigation Board. Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. Arlington, VA: Columbia Accident Investigation Board; Washington, D.C.: Distributed by National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2003
TL795.5 .C65 2003 BOOKSTACKS Note: Ready reference also has a copy. This report is often called the Gehman Report, as the chairman of the CAIB was Adm. Harold W. Gehman.
 
__________. Columbia Crew Survival Investigation Report.. Houston, TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Johnson Space Center, 2009.
TL867 .C726 2008 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Astronautics. The Apollo 13 Accident: Hearings before the Committee on Science and Astronautics U.S. House of Representatives, Ninety-first Congress, second session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1970.
KF24.8 .A1 FY 1971 V. 7 and KF27 .S36 A76 1970 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Subcommittee on NASA Oversight. Investigation into Apollo 204 Accident: Hearings before the Subcommittee on NASA Oversight of the Committee on Science and Astronautics, U.S. House of Representatives, Ninetieth Congress, first session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1967.
KF24.8 .A1 FY 1968 V. 11 and TL789.8.U6 A5945 1967 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Science and Technology. Response to House Committee Recommendations on the Challenger Accident. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1987
TL867 .R47 1987 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences. Apollo 13 Mission: Hearing before the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States Senate, Ninety-first Congress, second session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1970.
KF26 .A47 A66 1970 and KF24.8 .A1 FY 1971 V. 5 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Apollo 13 Mission Review. Hearing before the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States Senate, Ninety-first Congress, second session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1970.
KF26 .A47 A65 1970 and KF24.8 .A1 FY 1971 V. 5 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Apollo Accident: Hearings Before the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, United States Senate, Ninetieth Congress, first session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1967-1968.
KF24.8 .A1 FY 1968 V. 7 and KF26 .A47 1967/1968 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Apollo 204 Accident: Report of the Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences with Additional Views. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1968.
KF26 .A47 1967/1968 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Space. Space Shuttle Accident: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, Ninety-ninth Congress, second session, on space shuttle accident and the Rogers Commission report, February 18, June 10, and 17, 1986. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 1986.
KF24.8 .A1 FY 1987 V. 3 BOOKSTACKS
 
__________. Space Shuttle Columbia Investigation: Hearing Before the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, United States Senate, One Hundred Eighth Congress, first session, May 14, 2003. Washington, D.C.: U.S. G.P.O., 2006.
KF26 .C69 C65 2006 BOOKSTACKS
 
United States. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Diaz Team. A Renewed Commitment to Excellence: An Assessment of the NASA-wide Applicability of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report. Washington, D.C.: NASA, 2004.
TL795.5 .C662 2004 BOOKSTACKS Note: This report is often called the Diaz report, after the leader of its writing team.
 
__________. One NASA Team. The Implementation of the NASA Agency-wide Application of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report: Our Renewed Commitment to Excellence. Washington, D.C.: NASA, 2004.
TL795.5 .C663 2004 BOOKSTACKS Note: This report is also called the One NASA Team Report.
 
__________. Return to Flight Task Group. Final Report of the Return to Flight Task Group: Assessing the Implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Return-to-flight Recommendations. Washington, D.C.: Return to Flight Task Group, 2005
TL795.5 .C66 F56 2005 BOOKSTACKS Note: Ready reference also has a copy.
 
United States. Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Proceedings before Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident: Official Transcript. Washington, D.C.: The Commission, 1986.
TL867 .U58 1986 BOOKSTACKS Note: HQ library is missing several parts of this fourteen-part title. Please ask a member of the staff for assistance. This commission is often called the Rogers Commission, as its chairman was William Rogers, a former Attorney General and Secretary of State.
 
__________. Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Washington, D.C.: The Commission, 1986.
TL867 .U55 1986 BOOKSTACKS Note: Ready reference also has a copy.
 
__________. Status of Actions to Implement the Recommendations of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident. Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1987.
TL867 .A27 1987 BOOKSTACKS

Internet Resources

Curry, Marty. People and Places: Michael Adams: Remembering a Fallen Hero. March 1, 2008 [April 20, 2012]
http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/X-Press/stories/2004/073004/ppl_adams.html
 
Garber, Steve. Apollo-1 (204). Jan. 27, 2010 [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/Apollo204/ This is the History Office gateway to NASA Internet resources relating to Apollo I.
 
__________. Apollo 13 Review Board (Cortright Commission). April 1, 2004 [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/ap13rb/ap13index.htm
 
__________. Challenger STS 51-L Accident. March 30, 2011 [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/sts51l.html This is the History Office gateway to NASA Internet resources relating to the destruction of Challenger.
 
__________. Columbia. Sept. 16, 2009. [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/columbia/index.html This is the History Office gateway to NASA Internet resources relating to the disintegration of Columbia.
 
__________. Detailed Chronology of Events Surrounding the Apollo 13 Accident. June 17, 2011 [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/Timeline/apollo13chron.html
 
__________. X-15 Biographies: Michael J. Adams. April 24, 2001 [April 20, 2012]
http://history.nasa.gov/x15/adams.html

Last Updated: April 2012