Human Spaceflight Accidents: The US Space Program
In this chapter, the history of mishaps and accidents within the US space program is examined in order to provide context and understanding of how mishaps occur, ways in which they can be prevented or mitigated, and identify common factors therein. In particular, this entry identifies the role of human error, on the part of the crew and the support teams, and how human influence can alter the risk of mishap both positively and negatively.
There has been a paradigm shift over the last century as humans have ventured past the atmosphere to attempt further, longer, and more challenging spaceflight missions. The glory of the early Mercury program, the fascination of Apollo – these early days that incited public interest and captured human imagination are gone. Today, spaceflight is considered achievable, commonplace, and not very noteworthy. Rarely do stories of spaceflight reach the front pages; in fact, rarely do such stories make the news at all. However, spaceflight...
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