Tuesday, July 04, 2006

NASA says if the shuttle is fatally damaged, it's no big deal—the astronauts can hide out at the space station

"The orange-hued tank's foam insulation has perplexed NASA ever since Columbia accident that killed seven astronauts. The foam damage on Columbia's heat shield caused the shuttle to break apart as it returned to Earth.

The US space agency spent more than a billion dollars to fix the problem, only to see a piece of foam fall off Discovery's fuel tank in the first post-tragedy launch in July 2005.

The debris missed the shuttle, but the space agency grounded its 25-year-old fleet until now to make further modifications to the fuel tank.

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin decided to resume flights and approved the current launch despite opposition from chief safety officer Bryan O'Connor and chief engineer Chris Scolese.

The two officials, however, backed the launch after NASA said the astronauts could take refuge in the ISS should the shuttle suffer irreparable damage. "
I mean, what's the big deal? Why postpone a launch just because the chief safety officer and chief engineer say it's unsafe? This is a chance to launch on the Fourth of July! Don't these engineers understand that the whole shuttle project is just a big photo op, anyway?

Bunch of whiners!

The Ironic Money Quote:
Discovery's five men and two women astronauts are due to fly to the ISS on a mission aimed at improving shuttle safety.
Yes, that's right. NASA is going ahead with a launch which their chief safetly officer and cheif engineers said was too dangerous because they are trying to improve shuttle safety.


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