A Serious Deficiency

The Rogers commission faults NASA's "flawed" decision-making process

He had once been viewed as being too gentle to compete in the rough-and-tumble world of Washington bureaucracy. But after chairing three days of public hearings last week on how NASA reached the decision to launch the space shuttle Challenger on its doomed mission, former Secretary of State William Rogers was visibly--and vocally--angry.

Referring to the avalanche of documents concerning shuttle safety that the space agency passes from desk to desk, Rogers scolded some top NASA launch officials, "You eliminate the element of good judgment and common sense." Frustrated by conflicting accounts of positions taken at crucial preflight meetings, Rogers asked...

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