Aircraft Accidents and Repeating the Pattern

Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the Challenger explosion; it sent seven astronauts to their deaths on that clear morning. With an event so high profile, one would expect that the likelihood of a similar tragedy would be near impossible, especially considering the number of Shuttle missions over the decades.
What the Challenger disaster was attributed to was a lack of communication; a break in the chain of decision making that was either money conscious or simply could not think outside the box to consider the possibility of disaster.
Fast forward to February 1, 2003 – almost fifteen years to the day – Challenger’s sister ship, the Columbia suffers a disaster just as devastating, albeit on the back end of the mission. Did NASA learn from the Challenger enough to prevent a decision making mistake again? The answer would be: No. Again, the decisions to ignore the signs were ignored and seven other astronauts were killed by negligence.
How can we expect aviation to benefit from the lessons of disaster when something so high profile as the Space Shuttle program cannot?

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