Truth, Lies, and O-rings

Truth, Lies, and O-rings

Inside the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

Book - 2009
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Author McDonald was director of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Motor Project at the time the Challenger space shuttle exploded. He also was one of the individuals who warned NASA against the launch, and one of few on the inside who never signed a confidentiality agreement. This is McDonald's insider story, a retelling of the tragedy direct from the Launch Control Center. A skilled engineer and executive, McDonald was the only individual singled out for retribution by NASA and Morton Thiokol, his employer and the manufacturer of Challenger's solid rocket boosters. This is an even-handed take on an American aerospace tragedy. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

University of Florida Press
What they didn’t want you to know
"We all watched in shock and disbelief when Challenger was lost. Probably no one felt more disappointment and regret than Allan McDonald, who had warned us not to launch that day. His story tells of loss, grief, and the eventual rebuilding and recovery."--Robert "Hoot" Gibson, former Space Shuttle pilot and commander
"A major contribution to a difficult episode in the history of human spaceflight."--Roger D. Launius, Division of Space History, Smithsonian Institution
“McDonald tells the heartbreaking tale of how he saw his words of warning ignored, and the fateful consequences of that decision.”--Donald C. Elder III, Eastern New Mexico University
On a cold January morning in 1986, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Challenger, despite warnings against doing so by many individuals, including Allan McDonald. The fiery destruction of Challenger on live television moments after launch remains an indelible image in the nation’s collective memory.
In Truth, Lies, and O-Rings, McDonald, a skilled engineer and executive, relives the tragedy from where he stood at Launch Control Center.  As he fought to draw attention to the real reasons behind the disaster, he was the only one targeted for retribution by both NASA and his employer, Morton Thiokol, Inc., makers of the shuttle’s solid rocket boosters. In this whistle-blowing yet rigorous and fair-minded book, McDonald, with the assistance of internationally distinguished aerospace historian James R. Hansen, addresses all of the factors that led to the accident, some of which were never included in NASA’s Failure Team report submitted to the Presidential Commission.
Truth, Lies, and O-Rings is the first look at the Challenger tragedy and its aftermath from someone who was on the inside, recognized the potential disaster, and tried to prevent it. It also addresses the early warnings of very severe debris issues from the first two post-Challenger flights, which ultimately resulted in the loss of Columbia some fifteen years later.

Publisher: Gainesville : University Press of Florida, c2009
ISBN: 9780813033266
Characteristics: xix, 626 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Hansen, James R.


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Sep 27, 2010

My experience is that anyone who is going to "expose the truth" uses as much fiction as the original story, so I didn't bother reading it.


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