Straight Up with Sherri

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Is Discovery Destined for Doom?

I know Levi doesn't like when I use WorldNetDaily as a source, but if this is accurate- we need to start demanding some answers instead of blindly trusting NASA.

NASA: We were wrong to launch
Future missions suspended due to foam-insulation danger

WASHINGTON – NASA today admitted it was wrong to launch the space shuttle Discovery and suspended future shuttle flights because of the risks from foam insulation debris – the same problem that brought down Columbia in 2003.

Though the space agency doesn't yet know the extent of the damage to the Discovery, it too was a victim of foam insulation falling off the shuttle during its launch.

The debris spun off the tank when it separated from the main craft. The debris missed Discovery, and NASA insists it does not appear to present a problem for the seven-person crew now in space.


I think I would have aborted this mission a LAST WEEK!


  • This is actually a great example of WND "reporting".

    First off, they're labeling this story a "WND Exclusive". It boggles the mind how they make that claim, but whatever.

    Now, here's how WND starts their piece:

    NASA today admitted it was wrong to launch the space shuttle Discovery

    Well, that sure is consistent with their headline. But when you go look up "we were wrong to launch" on, there's no such quote in the current headlines.

    So then you trim back a little bit, suspecting that WND fudged a little bit. Sure enough, when you look up "we were wrong" and "nasa", you'll discover that the actual statement by NASA was:

    We had a debris event on the PAL ramp along the LOX field line - below the point where the LH2 ramp begins. Our expectation is that we would not have an unexpected debris event. The PAL ramp is one area we should have reviewed.

    We knew we would have to remove the PAL ramp. We did not have enough data to be safe and remove it. We had very few problems with it so we decided that it was safe to fly it as is.

    Clearly, with the event we had, we were wrong. We did not contact the orbiter at all. But it does give us pause to go back and look at what it is. Until it is closed we will not fly again. Might as well let that out now. Until we are ready we will not fly again.

    So, as you can see, the "we were wrong" bite was in the middle of a very detailed explanation about a technical matter. They weren't commenting on whether they were wrong "to launch".

    Furthermore, it's clear to everyone that saw the video that the actual thing they were wrong about -- the foam coming off the ET -- did not, in fact, jeopardize the current crew's mission. It does, however, have a significant impact on the risk assessment of future missions. In effect, this crew lucked out. STS-114 is not in jeopardy.

    By Anonymous coaster, at 1:30 AM  

  • BTW, as far as "blindly trusting NASA" -- there are many people who do not. The ranges of opinion vary from "manned missions are crucial for public support" to "mannned missions are a waste of money" to "man never really landed on the moon". I'm surprised WND hasn't followed up that last possiblity with exclusives.

    By Anonymous coaster, at 1:35 AM  

  • Newsmax here suggests that it is the substitution of "environmentally-friendly" foam for freon-based foam that is causing the problems. BTW,Sharri, this story may be a little overwrought as the first poster says -- but I always read WND because, as with this story, they sometimes say something or see something that other people do not.

    By Blogger levi from queens, at 11:18 AM  

  • I think I would have aborted this mission a LAST WEEK!
    There are always risk, I'm sure the crew is well aware of them and still would have chosen to launch.

    By Blogger lowandslow, at 1:05 PM  

  • This article brings into limelight the growing carelessness on the part of NASA researchers and the day to day decreasing trust of the citizens on them. People definitely need answers for the declining performers of the center and the reason behind these improperly carried out missions.G.S. 4509

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:21 PM  

  • I feel that this world is too money driven. People get so blinded by the dollar signs in their eyes, that they are willing to endanger the life of another human being to make their wallets bigger. There is no price on human life. If I invented a 100billion dollar device, and it had a chance of endangering people, i would not put it out. Yes, 100billion dollars is a nice sum, but the guilt of knowing that my product killed someone is not worth that. Rich people have one of the highest suicide rates. So the money definately wouldnt be a comfort.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:48 PM  

  • I absolutely agree that NASA should take more precautions. I am all for the exploration of our solar system and beyond but not at the cost of peoples lives.-D.R. 6868

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:52 PM  

  • I do think NASA is planning ahead to fast. They should make sure they don't make the same mistake as other countries. Because starting over means more money to spend. the government is paying to much on NASA equipment and should give this operation a rest. Plus, the government is in debt. Let's try and do this operation another time.

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