RE: OT: The Columbia

Subject: RE: OT: The Columbia
From: Alan Bucher <bucherino -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 2003 11:47:08 -0800 (PST)

The NASA guy in the press conference said that:
a) The Columbia mission was not prepped or trained for a spacewalk.
b) Even if they were, the astronauts have no ability to swing around
the bottom of the shuttle and examine its underside. (Spacewalks are
largely confined to the area surrounding the payload bay, which on
this flight didn't even contain the robot arm.)
c) Even if they could do a "walk-around", there are no existing
procedures for repairing tiles while in space.

Also, with regard to aborting the mission, my understanding is that
the foam breaking off wasn't a spectacular and obvious event, and
that it took them time to examine the video and determine what
happened. So there would have been no time during the launch for
someone to have fully understood what happened, what its implications
were, and to have hit the abort button.

KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com wrote:
>Given that space-walks, while not "routine", are
>now common-place during space missions, surely it
>would have warranted a "walk-around" to check the
>integrity of the critical surfaces, especially
>given that the "foam incident" was known. Their work
>schedule up there was tight, but you'd think that a
>major safety concern would have warranted schedule
>adjustment. They do carry supplies for unexpected delays.

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