Re: The Columbia?

Subject: Re: The Columbia?
From: "Jan Cohen" <familyforever -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2003 10:47:12 -0500


Having spent 20 years in the USAF as an aircraft technician, one of the
things I learned was that before any takeoff, a pre-flight inspection occurs
to ensure safety of flight. Granted that the damage to the space shuttle
occurred after take-off, and that none of the crew was certified to walk in
space to perform an inspection of the damage. But an in-flight inspection
of the impact should have occurred before attempting re-entry, regardless of
the "I don't no how to do that's," or "I never did that before's."

No engineer, let alone a NASA engineer assigned to the shuttle project, can
qualify an object's impact on another object as causing little or no damage,
without performing a visible inspection of the impacted area. Period.

Unless the destruction of the space shuttle was caused by something
unassociated with the damage caused by the impact of the tank on the
shuttle's wing, unless there was absolutely no way in hell an astronaut
could have surveyed the damage (e.g. lack of equipment to perform a space
walk, an albeit poor and unacceptable excuse), NASA is at fault. Heck,
they're going to be at fault anyway, regardless of the outcome.

And maybe we're at fault too. Perhaps we've even become a bit complacent in
how we view riding to the stars now-a-days: atop a million gallons of fuel,
to a place where your blood boils in a vacuum. Hell, some tourists have
even bought their way there, hitching rides on Russian space vehicles. And
they predicted zero-g toilets, talkee-lookee telephones, and neat, sticky
stuff that will help hold your shoes on.

My deepfelt sympathies to the families of the astronauts, but IMHO, the
oddysey of 2001 is still a long ways off.

Jan Cohen


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OT: The Columbia?: From: Hart, Geoff

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