Challenger engineer Bob Ebeling dies

Ebeling and the other engineers for NASA contractor Morton Thiokol were concerned that cold overnight temperatures in January would stiffen rocket fuel seals and the fuel would leak.

Such a leak would lead to an explosion.


>> Read more trending stories

Ebeling warned his boss, Allan McDonald, who helped organize a teleconference with NASA officials to push for a launch delay, but executives of NASA's contracted company were not convinced.

NPR reported that Ebeling felt guilty most of his life following the Challenger explosion but as he got older and his health declined, he thanked those who told him he did not have to bear the burden of the explosion.

"You helped bring my worrisome mind to ease," Ebeling said. "You have to have an end to everything."

NASA also released a statement that acknowledged his efforts, saying that the Challenger explosion was a reminder "to remain vigilant and to listen to those like Mr. Ebeling who have the courage to speak up."

Ebeling's daughter, Kathy, said her father died after a long illness in Brigham City, Utah.

The illness was not disclosed.

Eberling is survived by his wife, his wife Darlene, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.