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On 18 Aug 2005 at 6:01, ARTHUR Z. ROWE wrote:


Just curious that critics towards Arthur repost came just before this one...

Probably just another unfortunate coincidence or another way to try to hide the truth...?

Sorry but this one goes through

> http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/space/3315553

In a scathing critique of NASA's management, several members of an independent panel said some of the same practices that 
contributed to the 2003 Columbia disaster were again evident in the space agency's drive to resume shuttle launches last 

Although the shuttle Discovery landed safely last week, those practices jeopardized the safety of the crew, according to 
seven outspoken members of the 26-member Return to Flight Task Group.

The shortcomings influenced how the agency chose to deal with the dangerous fuel tank foam insulation losses that triggered 
Columbia's demise as well as efforts to protect the spacecraft from debris-impact damage, they charged.

"We expected that NASA leadership would set high standards for post-Columbia work. We expected involved and insightful 
leadership from NASA headquarters," wrote the seven members who included an astronaut, a former director of the 
Congressional Budget Office, an undersecretary of the Navy, two engineers and a pair of university professors. "We were, 
overall, disappointed."

While the two former astronauts who co-chaired the panel distanced themselves from the group's conclusions, NASA 
administrator Michael Griffin promised to incorporate them into leadership changes that are already under way.

The task force's 216-page report was delivered eight days after Discovery and a crew of seven safely completed the first 
shuttle mission since the 2003 accident.

However, Discovery's July 26 liftoff was marred by the same kind of major fuel tank foam-debris loss that triggered the 
tragedy. This time, though, the foam chunk that peeled away from Discovery's fuel tank at liftoff missed the spacecraft. The 
shuttle fleet has been grounded while NASA engineers search for new remedies.

The task group was established two years ago by former NASA chief Sean O'Keefe and assigned to assess the agency's 
compliance with findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. The report included 15 safety recommendations, and 
O'Keefe required shuttle managers to implement them before resuming flight.

The task group signed off on NASA's compliance with 12 of the recommendations in June.

Though the shuttle program had made strides, the task group decided that NASA had not fully met the board's recommendations 
to eliminate fuel tank foam losses, fortify the shuttle against future debris impacts and equip the astronauts with damage 
repair kits.

In 19 pages of an annex reserved for individual observations in Wednesday's 216-page final report, seven members joined to 
offer a probing and sometimes scathing minority critique.

High on their list of concerns were the 23 changes to Discovery's launch date, which stood at March 1, 2003, at the time of 
Columbia's breakup. Far more changes than shuttle managers disclosed publicly, the shifting time frame for a liftoff proved 
detrimental, the group of seven concluded, because it was not in response to safety improvements.

"It appears to us the senior management selected launch dates based on non-technical concerns, ultimately placing 
unnecessary and unrecoverable restrictions on teams working return-to-flight hardware development," they said.

The space agency should have avoided the scheduling process until it had established a list of shuttle requirements, 
including how much foam loss was acceptable and where the shuttle's exterior should be fortified to protect against damage.

The seven panelists concluded the space agency's management failed to come to grips with the Columbia accident board's 
deepest concerns  the agency's failure to identify and deal with the underlying risks of human spaceflight.

The critics included Dan L. Crippen, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office; Susan Morrisey Livingstone, a 
former undersecretary of the Navy; Air Force Col. Susan Helms, a former NASA astronaut; Rosemary O'Leary, a Syracuse 
University professor; Charles C. Daniel, a former NASA engineer; Amy Donahue, a University of Connecticut professor; and 
William Wegner, a nuclear engineer.

None responded to requests for comment.

"That a democracy can't do certain things if in fact its citizens don't support it"
Lieutenant general James Conway June 16 2005.

Luc Leblanc VE2DWE
AMSAT 33583
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