Major Malfunction Discussion Questions

Read through the following questions to guide your viewing before we watch the video Major MalfunctionTake notes as you watch.

  1. What do you notice about the flight control communication practices? What kinds of discourse is used? What kinds of body language do you notice? What do yo notice about how citizens on the ground respond?
  2. How would describe NASA’s professional ethos (see page 6 in your textbook) before and after the Challenger explosion?
  3.  What kinds of specialized industry and technical knowledge does this video provide for you, the viewer? How is it communicated?
  4. What values were underwriting the Apollo missions? How did those values cause ethical dilemmas? What kinds of failures materialized in relation to these values?
  5. What is acceptable risk? Who gets to decide? What kinds of knowledge-making guide these decisions? Which kinds of knowledge-making practices are ignored? How is risk communicated? Whose role is it to communicate risk?
  6. Why does Mulloy say the accident was inevitable? Do you agree or disagree?
  7. Why is organizational change so hard to enact?  How does the Columbia tragedy underscore this notion? Whose role is it to advocate for users’ health, safety, sustainability, and general well-being?