A few days after the Challenger accident, on a Friday, I got a call from William Graham, who was the acting director of NASA. Mr. Graham had been a student of mine—at Caltech, and also at the Hughes Aircraft Company, where I gave a series of lectures—and thought maybe I would be of some use to the investigation. When I heard it would be in Washington, my immediate reaction was not to do it. I have a principle of not going anywhere near Washington or having anything to do with government.
In the course of diagnosing the technical causes of the Challenger space shuttle disaster, the author also formed some impressions of NASA and became acquainted with some of the pitfalls of participation in an official investigation.