The engineer who detected flaws with the O-Rings that caused the 1985 Challenger disaster, has donated his personal papers to the Leatherby Libraries. The gift will be formally accepted at a 5:30 p.m. dedication ceremony Thursday, May 13, in the Malloy Performance Portico, third floor, Leatherby Libraries.
Roger M. Boisjoly worked as a technical troubleshooter for Morton Thiokol, the manufacturer of the solid rocket boosters used in the Space Shuttle program. He raised vigorous objections to the launch the day before the shuttle lifted off but Morton Thiokol management overruled his “no launch” decision. The shuttle exploded as Boisjoly had feared and the entire crew was killed. A letter he wrote warning of the faulty O-Rings can be seen
in the National Archives Digital Vaults.
Despite professional recriminations, Boisjoly testified before the Presidential Commission investigating the disaster and was instrumental in exposing technical shortcomings in the program. For his tenacity and honesty Boisjoly was awarded the Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility by the America Association for the Advancement of Science.
In retirement Boisjoly has been a frequent lecturer on scientific ethics and has participated in several panels held at Chapman University. The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested and can be made by calling 714-532-7742.