Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July Spectacular

The plan is to launch the Space Shuttle at about 12:40 MST today. This seems a bit incautious in light of the events of the weekend, which includes two scrubbed launch attempts and the discovery of a crack in the foam insulation of the fuel tank. A small piece of foam fell away from the area near the crack, launch managers have none the less decided to proceed.
I'm sorry, this seems contrived, I'm reminded of the Challenger disaster that simply had to launch in time for Ronald Reagan to include some remarks about the "Teachers in Space" program in his SOTU address.
I love space exploration and space science, but I'm concerned for the safety of our astronauts today. Is this launch an attempt to manufacture a "feel good moment" for the failure-plagued Bush administration? I really hope not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

According to a news report, "NASA engineers say the shuttle is safe to launch this afternoon."

According to a June article in the LA Times, two shuttle management team members — the chief engineer and the head safety officer — recommended the launch be delayed over worries about the foam. They were outvoted.

Not only that but NASA doesn't intend to dwell on this foam issue since a complete redesign is scheduled for 2010, after 16 more flights.

... see http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-shuttle18jun18,1,1249007.story?coll=la-headlines-nation

-- Judy