The connection between Morton salt and the challenger disaster


The Thiokol Corporation was, in the 1980s, a manufacturer of rocket engines and propulsion systems, as well as chemical sealants and rubbers. Morton salt is produced, well, Salt. Why would these two corporations cooperate with each other, even though they are both in completely different fields?

According to a 1982 article from washington articles, the partnership doesn’t have much to do with products, but rather the “chemical reactions” they share. The article explains that, just as Thiokol’s work involved the study of chemicals, Morton-Norwich’s work involved the study of pharmaceutical chemicals and adhesives (through The Encyclopedia of Chicago). The incorporated companies will have a special chemical business totaling $600 million. With profits from salt sales and rocket investments, the company could easily take over the chemical market.

“It really means a lot,” said Morton-Norwich President Charles S. Locke. “It’s a very strong company that will be able to fund anything within the scope of the cause it wants to do.”

Despite such great optimism, the Morton-Thiokol relationship won’t last. Morton-Thiokol built a faulty booster to be placed aboard the space shuttle Challenger, a discovery that led to harsh comments about corruption and incompetence (such as in a 1986 edition of the Harvard Crimson). Three years later, in 1989, Thiokol and Morton split, presumably to eliminate any adverse publicity. Once again, Morton found himself on the ground, selling salt instead of seeing the stars.

https://www.mashed.com/680621/the-connection-between-morton-salt-and-the-challenger-disaster/ The connection between Morton salt and the challenger disaster

Britta Zeltmann

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