Netflix recently released a 4 episode documentary called Challenger: The Final Flight about the Challenger disaster and the stories around the seven astronauts, the decision makers behind Launch/No Launch decision, a brief history into the infamous O-ring and then a very brief intro on the role of the Rogers Commission.
Overall, I think the video editing is fantastic and very slick. The producers leave you at “cliff hangers” between episodes. I say “cliff hangers” because everyone knows what happened to the shuttle. The way the first episode ended was amazing. It leaves you momentarily silenced with the shuttle exploding mentally but I’m seeing the credits roll. I literally went “whoa, what just happened there” because I didn’t expect the sudden fade to black and fade to credits as someone was talking about the Challenger launch and seeing it go up into the clouds. The other fascinating part of this show were about the stories behind the decision makers to continue with the launch as well as the emotions of the family members who literally watched their loved ones die in the explosion. Some of the decision makers didn’t seem to show any remorse on the show when talking about the launch. Although I wonder if they kept up the appearance as a matter of principle, I don’t know how one could not show any emotion or remorse after 40 years. I felt a bit of disdain and anger towards the two NASA engineers Mulloy and Lucas with their actions around the decision to launch and their subsequent attempt to justify the launch.
If there’s a lesson to be learned… the value of human lives is more important hitting some artificial timeline and budgets