From: http://lanl-the-real-story.blogspot.com :
I find myself feeling irate that we have 7 astronauts in space who are facing the same kind of reentry that killed their predecessors in the last shuttle flight. Yes, I am aware that NASA now says the lost foam from the liftoff didn't damage the orbiter, but NASA has grounded all future shuttle flights, which suggests it doesn't have much faith in the safety of the shuttles. The part I find so appalling is the fact that the shuttle Discovery was found unfit to fly on June 28 and NASA sent it off anyhow. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/07/28/AR2005072800035.html
Maybe this set of astronauts will survive and I hope and pray that they do, but what I see is an agency so concerned about publicity that it didn't listen to its own safety advisory team. It appears that only luck prevented a disaster and we still don't know that such a disaster has been prevented.
I think of LANL's many failures to enforce safety rules and to repair reported hazards over the years, which resulted in accidents such as the one that caused a laser burn to a student's retina, and radiation uptakes, and numerous near misses. LANL advertises a deep concern for the safety of its employees but in the end fails to enforce its own rules over and over again -- usually in an attempt to get work done in a hurry, to meet deadlines, or just because they think something else is a higher budgetary priority.
Nanos tried to solve the problem with a stick. That approach was an utter failure. I just see a model of LANL's problems in the current NASA Discovery problem. The only possible solution is the ability to face the truth and to tell higher ups what they do not want to hear. It would help a lot if telling the truth wasn't career suicide and coverups were.
posted by Doug Roberts : 7/28/2005 04:14:00 PM