The Reagan Administration pushed hard for NASA to launch shuttle mission 51L, before it was ready. 73 seconds into the launch, the shuttle exploded, killing seven and leaving a nation traumatized. Richard Cook, lead resource analyst at NASA for the Solid Rocket Boosters, was the first to warn of possible catastrophic failure. His memo, detailing astronaut concerns and warnings from the shuttle builders at Morton Thiokol, was ignored by top NASA officials and members of the Reagan administration. In the aftermath, NASA launched an investigation to "discover" the cause of the disaster. Though within NASA there was absolute certainty about the O-ring failure, they began a cover-up by publicly proclaiming that the cause was unknown. A Reagan administration Commission perpetrated the same lie. When Cook realized that the Commission was not interested in the truth, he leaked the original documents to the New York Times, setting off a cascade of disclosures, including revelations by Morton Thiokol engineers that they had tried to stop the launch.--From publisher description.