Author Topic: Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...  (Read 60 times)

PLANT

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Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...
« on: August 26, 2003, 10:29:21 AM »


The 248-page report by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board says NASA's "organization does not provide effective checks and balances, does not have an independent safety program, and has not demonstrated the characteristics of a learning organization."

It recommends instituting a stronger safety program and making Congress and the White House accountable.

The report also calls on the agency to recommit itself to the cause of human space flight, suggesting that NASA begin developing an orbital space plane -- with safety a high priority -- that would eventually replace the shuttle.

"These recommendations reflect both the board's strong support for return to flight at the earliest date consistent with the overriding objective of safety," the report said.

It indicates that NASA risks future accidents if its recommendations are not carried out. "The board has no confidence that the space shuttle can be safely operated for more than a few years based solely on renewed post-accident vigilance."

But the report also criticizes NASA's organizational culture as having "as much to do with" the disaster as it did with a piece of foam striking the space shuttle's wing.

According to the report, the "physical cause" of the disaster last February was a piece of foam that broke off the shuttle's external tank at liftoff. The foam struck the underside of the orbiter's wing, creating a breach in the heat-reflecting tiles that allowed hot atmospheric gases to seep in on re-entry to Earth.

"In Chapter 7, the Board presents its view that NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report's executive summary said.

It went on to say, "the report notes that only significant structural changes to NASA's organizational culture will enable it to succeed."

During a news conference Tuesday, board chairman Hal Gehman said the shuttle design itself is safe. "If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle. But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so."

On Monday, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told CNN's Miles O'Brien that the agency missed signs of trouble that led to the accident.

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"This was a case where we missed it. Just flat missed it," he said of the significance of the foam strike.

Launch technicians did see the incident, 81 seconds after takeoff, but in a series of memos engineers determined that whatever damage did occur would not have a great impact on the orbiter.

Tests performed later by the investigation board to replicate the foam strike left a huge hole in a replica of the shuttle's wing.

As for when space flight will resume, O'Keefe said no date has been set yet. The space shuttle Atlantis is the next orbiter due to fly.

"We will fly when we are fit to fly," he said. "It could be as early as spring, if we see the opportunities work out right."


 

Don Seer

Re:Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2003, 01:38:45 PM »
pretty much what has been expect since the outset.. at least in my eyes anyways...

i bet nasa lay the blame back on the government via funding cut backs
 

Trauma-san

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Re:Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2003, 02:20:58 PM »
^^ Probably.

I don't really lay blame on anybody, I think that it's an extremely dangerous thing to do (space travel), and I feel that eventually, we're going to lose shuttles, and people are going to die.  It's never going to be very safe, you're basically strapping a rocket to your ass.  Think about that.  
 

Don Seer

Re:Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2003, 03:20:26 PM »
yeah i know.. i always kinda thought nasa was so careful... but this instance is nuts...

the last one was a lot of complicated.. something along the lines of failure due to heat and manufacturing toleranaces.. not on  the level of... "a bit fell off, then broke another bit it hit" coz thats nutz
 

PLANT

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Re:Panel faults NASA culture for Disaster...
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2003, 04:11:44 PM »
It's never going to be very safe, you're basically strapping a rocket to your ass.  Think about that.  
Never thought of it that way....But damn.....its true!