"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."
Monday, February 07, 2005
[Media Source*] (Newsday.com) It looks like NASA is ready to sour again after it's devastating loss from the Columbia accident which occurred nearly two years ago.
Now, NASA engineers and astronauts are almost giddy with "go" fever as the tentative date for the first launch since the Columbia disaster approaches. The most important question isn't whether Discovery is technically ready to fly with new safety features and emergency procedures, but whether the agency itself has learned from the crucial errors most common to Challenger and Columbia, errors that grew out of a management culture that discouraged criticism and sacrificed safety for image-puffing and budget-cutting.
I hope so. Seeing another "Columbia" incident can be quite frightening (I woke up to it early in the morning when I was in Texas). We don't need another incident as exploring the cosmos is something that keeps our imagination going as a species. Maybe one day they will allow space tourism, (hopefully that will be in the near future)although I would recommend that NASA build new shuttles instead of trying to preserve the older ones.
You do have to give NASA credit on some things as they have eliminated the "fear of reporting failure" culture that probably led to the lack of reporting defects on the Columbia shuttle. Instead they are encouraging everyone to come forward if they see any potential problems (as it is clear that overlooked problems could result in unnecessary losses). But supporters are pointing a few good things out:
Clearly, the agency has worked hard at tackling the technical challenges posed by a superb and surprisingly independent-minded investigative panel. A few weeks ago, shuttle workers at the Kennedy Space Center received a rocket-like boost in morale with two important deliveries for the next shuttle to carry. One is a special tool to detect damage to the thermal-protective tile while in orbit - something the Columbia crew would have welcomed. The other is a new fuel tank "guaranteed" by NASA not to shed potentially fatal hunks of insulation.
NASA has some PR hurdles to overcome in the future. But lets hope for their sake (and the sake of all space lovers out there) that they can redefine their image and rekindle the hope of space colonization again. Selah.
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