What were the biggest design flaws to ever occur? How was it fixed if it was?
- The segment joints on the Space shuttle solid rocket boosters, that did not work in the cold and caused the loss of Challenger and 7 crew. Apart from the loss of a $1 billion space shuttle stack, it might have cost another $2 billion to return the space shuttle to flight. The segment joints were redesigned.
- The external foam insulation on the Space shuttle External Tank. It was prone to falling off during launch, and caused wing damage to Columbia that caused it’s loss with 7 crew during reentry. That was another $2–3 billion cost.
- A strong wind could’ve toppled the 59-story Citicorp Center, but the construction flaw wasn’t noticed until a Princeton University student raised concerns a year after its 1977 opening. To avoid panicking New York City residents, workers labored only at night to make emergency repairs, and the secret was kept quiet for decades.
- The Soviet RBMK nuclear reactor design, in particular the control rods (with graphite tips), that allowed the Chernobyl disaster. Lives lost, and very expensive to deal with. Other RBMK reactors then had their control rods fixed.
- Russian N1 Rocket booster. N1 (rocket). This was supposed to be the Russian equivalent to the US Saturn V to lift their manned moon shots. It was a key piece of their manned lunar program and a huge prestige project for the Soviet Union during the cold war years.
- The passenger window corners caused cracks in the fuselage skin that caused three fatal crashes of the De Havilland Comet 1. Many lives lost.
- Design flaws in the backup power system for Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused reactor meltdowns and release of radioactivity, no loss of life, but a huge cost to the Japanese nation.
- Boeing 737 Max. The stall avoidance system seems to have caused two crashes with 346 lives lost, and at least $18 billions of cost to Boeing.