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Fraser
2003-Aug-26, 07:25 PM
SUMMARY: The Columbia Accident Investigation Board released its final report today, which was officially accepted by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. The 250-page document contains an overview of the shuttle program in general, as well as STS-107. The report discusses the suspected cause of the Columbia accident - that foam falling from the fuel tank on liftoff smashed a hole in the shuttle's left wing and allowed hot gas to enter during re-entry - but it also places a lot of emphasis on the weaknesses of NASA's culture.


Comments or questions about this story? Feel free to share your thoughts.

WendellG
2003-Aug-26, 10:19 PM
Ok, I am not structural mechanic or an enginere of any type. I'm just a Licensed Nurse and a State Bioterrorism Investigator. I guess that I find it hard to belive that a piece of foam that size could puncture the wing of the Space Shuttle.

My heart still goes out to the families and friends of those on board that day, so please don't think that I am trying to make the loss of life second to the cause of the effect. I just really think that NASA took the easy way out and focused on the obvious.

Wendell

Fraser
2003-Aug-26, 10:38 PM
Read the report. :-) I'm just digesting it now. It's actually really well written and doesn't really require any technical knowledge. I can see that the writers worked hard to make it accessible to the general public.

WendellG
2003-Aug-26, 11:01 PM
Hey Frasier: You are right. It is well written. But it will still take me a while to gleen all of the info from it.

Thanks,

Wendell

drfloydhaywood
2003-Aug-27, 05:46 AM
To be honest, I have not yet read the Columbia report. It may be well written, and fairly factual, but the important thing is will there be any improvements in the way NASA does business.

The newspapers this morning talked about the pending report release and even offered an insight into the possibility that things might change. Sean O'Keefe even offered that the "culture" at NASA, that allowed this accident to happen, needed to be worked on, not necessarily any people that worked there.

I've got news for you Sean: The people that work there created the culture! If these people, and probably especially you, are allowed to stay there, we can obviously expect more of the same.

Lets contrast all the excuses we've heard under your watch, to those portrayed in the movie Apollo 13, where the launch director said quite clearly that, "there was not going to be any failures on my watch", and loosing astronauts "was not an option". I don't believe I've heard anything but failures and excuses coming from NASA under your watch, and rather poor excuses at that.

Unless "heads roll", where's the incentive to make any changes? NASA is filled with too many "program managers" playing games and massaging egos and not enough true "explorers" that are willing to put everything on the line for the things that are truly important.

Please Sean, just say goodby!

Fraser
2003-Aug-27, 06:47 AM
Read the report. Seriously, it's easy to read, and then we can all have a serious discussion about this.

Here's a crushing quote from the conclusion of the introduction:


Although an engineering marvel that enables a wide-variety
of on-orbit operations, including the assembly of the International
Space Station, the Shuttle has few of the mission
capabilities that NASA originally promised. It cannot be
launched on demand, does not recoup its costs, no longer
carries national security payloads, and is not cost-effective
enough, nor allowed by law, to carry commercial satellites.
Despite efforts to improve its safety, the Shuttle remains a
complex and risky system that remains central to U.S. ambitions
in space. Columbiaʼs failure to return home is a harsh
reminder that the Space Shuttle is a developmental vehicle
that operates not in routine flight but in the realm of dangerous
exploration.
Ouch.

GSii
2003-Aug-27, 07:13 AM
As a member of the IT-world I have recognized the recommendations of the investigation board after the crash of the first shuttle (i watched it and got into tears) and one of the mars missions (with our names on the cd - have they found the crash site?). Specially for software and development of software the second is worth reading.

What I want to bring over is that there are always iterations - and some times with casualties - that we have to face. But we can and hopefully do learn from each iterations to get a better quality. And this is the only way to leave this planet.

(If some software vendors on this planet would try to reach the same quality, there wouldn't be so many problems. But the applications would be far more expensive ...)

GSii

Duane
2003-Aug-27, 02:46 PM
Agreed the report is well written and an easy read.

I am struck by the report's quiet condemnation of the Hill's demands & expectations versus the reality of what could be done that were placed on NASA, especially with regard to the manned programs, by the budgets that were imposed.

Frankly I find in reading through it that I was not much surprised at any of their findings, nor the recommendations they made to improve things. Seems to me that the report on the Challenger explosion said many of the same things.


I am going to reread the report a couple of times & take time to digest it before I say more. I will say it is sad that it takes 2 tragedies to get the movement needed from the people who write the checks. :angry:

Betanski
2003-Aug-30, 01:13 AM
Hi Fraser

Greetings again from Bonnie Scotland.

I applaud your comments re the excellence of the Columbia Report document.

Seperate from the commendable job it has done in addressing the disaster, it's content reveals so much detailed information about spacecraft & spaceflight in general.

The photos of Columbia & the STS 107 crew are so tactfully used, showing the wonders of their mission through pre launch to orbit. The use of those pictures never let us forget who this report was REALLY being compiled for.

I truly believe that those of us who love Space & support it's exploration, should make this report an essential read.

It allows us to see into the heart of the Shuttle / Space Programme & the commitment & dedication of those who make it happen.

Though NASA receive great criticism within the report, their acceptance of it is a tribute to their values, ethos & all they represent. Remember, the World may have lost 7 gallant astronauts......but Nasa lost 7 of their Family.

History has shown that great tragedies in the Space Programme are often followed by many great improvements. No, the means does not justify the end, but in the true spirit of exploration the CAIB Report has played a paramount role towards allowing the Programme continue....The only worthwhile tribute to those we lost.


Love the site.....Now loving the Forum. Best Wishes Fraser

Cambo
2003-Sep-01, 12:20 PM
Hi all,
I have just finished scanning the CIAB report and found it interesting to say the least.
From what I understand the reasons that this incident occurred at all, boils down to money - failure of successive governments to adequately supply sufficient funds for NASA to maintain a programme where safety should be the first consideration.
Having said that I can see where the "can do" mentality of staff within NASA stems from. There is a large group of people who through no fault of their own have successfully maintained an on going manned space programme, within an ever decreasing fiscal circle. With every success this "can do" mentality is further strengthened.
I can also understand how a mind set of "it is not a safety problem" is born and then strengthened by repeated successes. Evidence held by NASA of repeated debris strikes over the whole Shuttle Programme with little damage that might rate as a safety issue can and did result in blinding those in charge to the dangers of such strikes.
The responsibilty or blame can only be laid at the feet of the Organisation. This Organisation goes from the most menial job right to the top of the tree, the Government and the elected individuals who comprise that body.
There is a saying that comes to mind
"You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear"
If the American people want....
No! If Humanity wants to reach for the stars then we, everyone that can afford to give something, meaning all first world countries, should be financially supporting the space agency that is doing the reaching.
Unfortunately we are still a world of countries. We are little tribes trying to hold on to our own patch. But this is another argument.
This report and the Rogers Report both identified certain inbred problems within NASA, I hope that NASA does change but I also hope that those holding the purse strings also change.
It's just a pity that money is the bottom line.
That's my little waffle on the subject

Aba Kadalya
2003-Oct-17, 01:49 PM
Originally posted by fraser@Aug 26 2003, 10:38 PM
Read the report. :-) I'm just digesting it now. It's actually really well written and doesn't really require any technical knowledge. I can see that the writers worked hard to make it accessible to the general public.
:lol: Thanks for the advice!

Rachel Simmons
2003-Oct-17, 01:52 PM
Originally posted by Duane@Aug 27 2003, 02:46 PM
Agreed the report is well written and an easy read.

I am struck by the report's quiet condemnation of the Hill's demands & expectations versus the reality of what could be done that were placed on NASA, especially with regard to the manned programs, by the budgets that were imposed.

Frankly I find in reading through it that I was not much surprised at any of their findings, nor the recommendations they made to improve things. Seems to me that the report on the Challenger explosion said many of the same things.


I am going to reread the report a couple of times & take time to digest it before I say more. I will say it is sad that it takes 2 tragedies to get the movement needed from the people who write the checks. :angry:
I know I cry too much. But I think I cried more then I ever had after the........ I can't even say it.

Aba
2003-Oct-17, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by fraser@Aug 27 2003, 06:47 AM
Read the report. Seriously, it's easy to read, and then we can all have a serious discussion about this.

Here's a crushing quote from the conclusion of the introduction:


Although an engineering marvel that enables a wide-variety
of on-orbit operations, including the assembly of the International
Space Station, the Shuttle has few of the mission
capabilities that NASA originally promised. It cannot be
launched on demand, does not recoup its costs, no longer
carries national security payloads, and is not cost-effective
enough, nor allowed by law, to carry commercial satellites.
Despite efforts to improve its safety, the Shuttle remains a
complex and risky system that remains central to U.S. ambitions
in space. Columbiaʼs failure to return home is a harsh
reminder that the Space Shuttle is a developmental vehicle
that operates not in routine flight but in the realm of dangerous
exploration.
Ouch.
Things falling
Faster
To the ground
People crying
Harder
Tears drop to the ground
The Earth
Is suffering
the lost
again
and again
untill...............