The desire to travel to space has been with man for many years, during which engineers have been faced with the difficulty of designing equipment that can defy and withstand the forces of nature. NASA has been faced with numerous challenges that have led to the deaths of its astronauts, specifically, the Apollo 1, Space Shuttle Challenger, and Columbia Space Shuttle (Parks). The ethical considerations surrounding the events that led to the Columbia Space Shuttle accident form a topic of interest that can be evaluated using the Kantian deontological approach.
Kantian deontological approach to ethics posits that individuals are expected to do the right thing, regardless of the outcomes. The approach employs a strict adherence to the rule-book and set guidelines. Generally, the Kantian deontological approach views lying as morally wrong, and adds that individuals should refrain from using others as mere means to a ‘greater’ cause (Misselbrook 211). From the Columbia Space Shuttle experience, it is evident that some of the guidelines had been violated in a quest to achieve the greater good.

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The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster was among major setbacks that NASA faced at the turn of the new millennium as it led to death of seven astronauts. This accident was as a result of a problem with the foam that led to the damage of the shuttle’s left wing. NASA had known this problem for several years, and was even criticized by the media and Congress for continuing the program (Howell par. 2). The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) revealed that a few seconds into the launch, the first problem with the foam was noticed, but NASA officials in-charge declined to investigate, despite other NASA members advocating for action and the military’s help (Howell par. 6). This points to negligence, and an assumption of unnecessary risk by those who were bound to use the space shuttles.

As such, it is accurate accurate to conclude that NASA had failed to take into consideration the consequences of their actions and merely used the astronauts as mere means to an action. This was because of the complicity when it came to safety measures.

    Works Cited
  • Howell, Elizabeth. “Columbia Disaster: What Happened, What NASA Learned.” Space.com. N.p., 2013. Web. .
  • Misselbrook, David. “Duty, Kant, and Deontology.” British Journal of General Practice63.609 (2013): 211-211. Print.
  • Parks, Clinton. “NASA Remembers Three Space Tragedies.” Space.com. N.p., 2008. Web. .