Describes the 16-day final mission of the space shuttle Columbia in January 2003, in which seven astronauts died. Provides background on the creation of NASA and the manned space program, including the Apollo 13 crisis 1970 and 1986 Challenger disaster. Examines NASA’s organizational culture, leadership, and the influences on the investigation of and response to foam shed from the external tank during shuttle launch.

Describes the 16-day final mission of the space shuttle Columbia in January 2003, in which seven astronauts died. Provides background on the creation of NASA and the manned space program, including the Apollo 13 crisis in 1970 and 1986 Challenger disaster. Examines NASA’s organizational culture, leadership, and the influences on the investigation of and response to foam shed from the external tank during shuttle launch.
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Richard Boehmer,
Laura R. Feldman,
Erika M. Ferlins,
Amy C. Edmondson,
Michael A. Roberto
Source: HBS Premier Case Collection
33 pages.
Publication Date: Apr 27, 2004. Prod #: 304090-PDF-ENG
Columbia Final Mission HBR case solution