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What the O-ring Tells Us About Forecasting in the Age of Coronavirus

Boston Consulting Group

Images of the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle in 1986 are anchored in the public consciousness, marking a turning point in attitudes towards space programs. What may be less well remembered today are the findings of the Rogers Commission, which was convened to study the causes of the disaster: an O-ring, a seal near the fuel tanks which became rigid at cold temperatures, failed to seal, and led to the losses in human lives, as well as in reputation and confidence.