The real rocket scientists

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Risk management failures are rarely as tragically visible as those of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa). On January 26, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after lifting off, killing its crew in what Nasa management told the subsequent inquiry was a "one in 100,000" event.

Richard Feynman, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and one of the Challenger accident investigators, castigated Nasa's misunderstanding of the risks: "It would appear that ... the

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