Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This is just all kinds of wrong.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050726/ap_on_sc/space_shuttle

Opening sentence: "With the countdown entering its final hours and a fuel gauge problem still unexplained, NASA said it is prepared to bend its long-standing safety rules to launch the shuttle Tuesday on the first flight since Columbia's doomed mission 2 1/2 years ago."

Riiiiight. Considering that their last shuttle CRASHED, you would think that this would be the time to be EXTRA cautious, not LESS so.

The article goes on to state that Columbia's crash "was blamed, in part, on NASA's 'broken safety culture,' or a tendency to downplay risks."

GET OUTTA TOWN. NASA has a history of downplaying risks?? ("Hmmm.....not sure why this darned fuel gauge still ain't workin, but let's send 'er up anyway, boys, whaddya say?")

"We have addressed everything we know on the shuttle that can go wrong that we have the technology to fix," said one NASA official. ("But the shit we DON'T know how to fix....yeah, all that's still broke.")

And now, allow me to skip down to the closing paragraph: "If we were to lose another shuttle, I think obviously the shuttle program would be out of business and the United States would be years away from putting another crew of people in space," he said. "The initiation of
President Bush's call to return the U.S. to the moon and go to Mars would be delayed. And of course — of course, of course, of course — seven people would be killed. So there's a lot riding on this launch."
(Translation: "It would really hurt our program if we lose another shuttle. Oh yeah, and 7 people would die, too.")

Seriously, am I missing something here? Is this an Armegeddon-type situation, where the fate of mankind depends on this launch happening tomorrow? I know that they only have until the beginning of August to fly to the space station "on a 12-day supply and repair mission" and that this is their last chance to launch before they miss their window of opportunity...I must be missing some crucial bit of info, however, that would justify risking the lives of these astronauts. Someone enlighten me, please.

17 comments:

Anna said...

Huh. Ye-ah. Um. Probably a bad choice there.

lol on the commentary, Jen ;)

Renee said...

I'm LOLing on the commentary, too. But yeah, I... can't enlighten you; the whole thing is just fucked up.

There's my brilliant comment for the day. When at a loss for words, revert to "fucked up" :-)

keesh said...

I am always questioning this NASA stuff, I would like to be enlightened on the whole thing in general. Planet Earth is going to shit, but why are we spending billions to go in space? My husband says space can help us here, but I am not getting it. help me please???

Renee said...

Amen, Kish-- I agree with you, girl!

SparkyDiva said...

i'm with nee - fucked up.
~b

Jamie Dawn said...

Downplay the risks? Who, us? Let's keep our fingers crossed on this one. We can't afford to grieve again with another shuttle disaster.


To Anna: I'm not posting any more Harry Potter stuff. Don't worry. Read FAST!

Fred said...

NASA has historically pushed forward with punctuality a priority over safety. Unfortunately, it seems as though that's still the case.

We'll all keep our fingers crossed that everyone gets home safely.

Jen said...

Update:

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050727/ap_on_sc/shuttle_debris

Nik said...

I've always been a sky-geek and into NASA (I was in the young astromauts program), so I was excited to hear that they were gonna launch. I think this launch was seen as a morale boost and hopefully to rebuild confidence in the program, but with them bypassing safety measures and then you see the footage of debris falling off the shuttle at launch, yeah somebody really dropped the fuckin ball here! I really don't have a good feeling about the re-entry. Admittedly, the debris from this shuttle didn't puncture the wing (that they know of)like it did on the Columbia, but still, it can't be a good sign when chunks of foam and what not is flying off of your shuttle. Please pray for the safe return of all on board.

Jen said...

Oh yeah, NOW they stop sending up these busted-ass shuttles.

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/science/space_shuttle

Fred said...

Yeah, I saw the story today. I wonder how the astronauts feel about that?

Jen said...

That's what I was thinking, Fred.

Nik said...

Un-freakin-believable!! I'm so disgusted by all of this, I can't even comment anymore than what I have.

LocuTus of Borg said...

The whole thought process behind space is bascially two things. 1) They can colonize in space or the moon or Mars. We are expending our resources here on Earth and would eventually need resources or places to live on other planets (more likely need to find other resources). 2) It is the whole aspect of the unknown. Why do you think Star Trek and Star Wars does so well? We has human beings have a need for exploration - it's built into us. We do just as much exploration on the earth, under the ocean, as we do in outerspace. As far as safety and issues - it is all about risk. In my industry we make decisions based on risk all the time - it is the same with them. They have to get the shuttle in space because it is the survival of the space program that is at stake here.

Jen said...

But it's also the survival of the astronauts!!

(Interesting points, though, LoB)

Nik said...

LoB, excellent points, and I agree with you. But when you are willing to bypass safety measures and put the lives of astronauts in danger, is that really "survival" of the space program? NASA grounding future launches for who knows how long, because they didn't fix the problems that the Columbia had, doesn't really signify survival to me. With the problems not being solved, they're doing nothing but digging NASA's grave, IMO

Renee said...

Amen, Nikki!