Challenger's Whistle-Blower: Hero And Outcast

The engineer who opposed the doomed launching of the shuttle finds himself ostracized as he embarks on several new careers. PHOENIX--When the shuttle Challenger blew up, the explosion lit a fuse in Roger Boisjoly's conscience. A structural engineer for Morton Thiokol Inc., the firm that later bore blame for the disaster, Boisjoly had argued against the launch the night before and, like the rest of the nation, watched in horror when the shuttle blew up. "I left the room and went directly to my

Elizabeth Pennisi
Jan 19, 1990


The engineer who opposed the doomed launching of the shuttle finds himself ostracized as he embarks on several new careers.
PHOENIX--When the shuttle Challenger blew up, the explosion lit a fuse in Roger Boisjoly's conscience. A structural engineer for Morton Thiokol Inc., the firm that later bore blame for the disaster, Boisjoly had argued against the launch the night before and, like the rest of the nation, watched in horror when the shuttle blew up. "I left the room and went directly to my office where I remained in shock the rest of the day," he recalls about that terrible morning four years ago this week.

During the next eight months, Boisjoly would become both a national hero and a professional pariah. Although widely lauded for his courage in alerting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and his company to the dangers in the design of the space vehicle's booster...