Intro to engineering | ENGR1201 | Richland College


ENGR 1201 – Assignment 2 – Ethics 

Name _________________________________ – Watch the news as it happens. – 50 min. It explains the decision process to Launch, and the fate of the managers and engineers involved. 

Follow the links above, or any other source regarding the 1986 Challenger Disaster and answer the following questions y complete sentences. You are free to discuss the issues with your classmates, but you will need to upload your OWN work.

Answer the following questions (mostly from Holtzapple & Reece Foundations of Engineering p53)

1.  Should the Morton-Thiokol engineers have blown the whistle and announced to the press that NASA management was endangering the lives of the crew members and risking destruction of the space shuttle? – Why?

2. No launch is completely safe; space travel is inherently risky. The astronauts accepted this risk when they volunteered for the job. Should they have been informed that the risks were higher for this particular launch? Why?

3. Of the three main moral theories – ethical egoism, utilitarianism, and right analysis – which moral theory were the Morthon-Thiokol and NASA management using when they made the decision to launch over the objections of the engineers? In retrospect, we could judge their actions to be wrong. What moral theories are we applying? 

4. Is it unfair to place blame on NASA managers? After all, every launch has risk and someone has to make the decision to launch? Would there have been any consequence if the launch would have been successful?

5. Should the engineers be faulted for developing an inferior design? Perhaps they should have incorporated heating tape into the joints if low temperatures were known to be a problem. 

6. Should an escape mechanism be installed on space shuttles (or any space craft) even though it imposes a severe weight and reduces the payload capability?

The issues with whistleblowers. Read this article.–Hero-And-Outcast/

7.  Assume you are a hiring manager in a Mechanical Structural company developing rocket buster for NASA. Using the 3 main moral theories to determine whether or not you would hire Mr. Boisjoly. Explain your answer. From Mr. Boisjoly point, could he has done things differently to avoid the complete ousting of his career as a structural engineer? 

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