NASA After Challenger: Restoring an Image

Case Solution

Stephen A. Greyser, Norman Klein
Harvard Business School ()

In the days after the loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew in January 1986, NASA officials were reluctant to communicate with the media or the public. A siege mentality prevailed, and the press and the public reacted with intense criticism and inquiries. The case describes NASA’s harmonious relationship with the pre-Challenger media and the many obstacles William Sheehan faced in trying to restore NASA’s image and relationship with the post-Challenger media. Topics include the particular problems of a public institution with a history of poor internal communications and exacerbated difficulties in trying to create effective internal policies while restoring credibility with the media and conducting investigative investigations.

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