The space shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after lifting off from Kennedy Space Center - Jan. 28, 1986.
The Rogers Commission appointed by President Reagan found that NASA organisational culture and decision-making processes were the key contributing factors to the accident and deaths of all 7 astronauts including teacher Christa Mc Auliffe . NASA managers knew Morton Thiokol 's design of the Solid Rocket Boosters contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings since 1977, but they failed to address it properly. Jay Greene, flight director and the launch team ignored warnings from engineers about the dangers of launching on such a cold day.
The Space Shuttle program and it's funding have never recovered.
Rogers Commission member, physicist Richard Feynman was to say later ... "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."