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Fraser
2005-Jul-25, 05:35 PM
SUMMARY: NASA began the countdown for launch of the space shuttle Discovery on July 23. If all goes well, and there are no further delays, Discovery will blast off on Tuesday, July 26 at 1439 UTC (10:39 am EDT). They still have no resolution for the malfunctioning fuel gauge, but managers have said they'll be willing to let the shuttle fly, even if the problem resurfaces, because of redundant systems.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/discovery_sts_launch_countdown_begins_23rd.html)

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

Joff
2005-Jul-25, 06:00 PM
I know that NASA have to be careful to have everything go well this time, just for future support for the space program - but there should be an explicit level of acceptable risk associated with this. The earlier pulling of the shuttle before on the basis of a single faulty sensor (in a bank of four) was pushing the limits of what safety means.

I'm glad they're going ahead with the launch now, and I hope that someone in the organisation is counterbalancing the risk of going ahead with the risk of NOT going ahead. Ignoring things like "the risk to the space program" as intangibles (albeit one I would rate highly), just keeping the shuttle on the ground and people working on it incurs a small risk of accidents.

I read what I've written and I'm reminded of the attitude that in part led to the Challenger failure (a gung-ho culture of "it's close enough; just go"); but as I've said, it's a matter of balance and explicit risk assessment, not closing my eyes to problems.

TuTone
2005-Jul-25, 08:10 PM
Yeah, NASA needs to just launch the shuttle & see what happens. Space is a risk, just like driving a car back & forth to work. Yeah, the risk is higher w/space, but if we lose another crew, yeah it's sad, but we can't let that stop us from progressing. As long as we gave our all & learn from our mistakes, it's A-O-tay!

Good Luck NASA!

Judii
2005-Jul-26, 11:42 AM
Hi. The balancing of risk and action has been something that has also concerned me since hearing of the postponement of the launch. From what I've read NASA have done all they can to identify the source of the malfunction and have attributed it to a computer glitch. I am also in agreement with the launch at the set time. I believe it's all but impossible to get an absolute guarantee of a risk free launch and that this a characteristic of any new venture, particularly something like space exploration. I also think that the success of this mission will do much to restore confidence in the space program in both the inner and outer interested circles.

Go for it and we'll be watching, thoughts and hopes for all concerned.

Jude.

antoniseb
2005-Jul-26, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by Jude@Jul 26 2005, 11:42 AM
Go for it and we'll be watching
Hi Jude, welcome to the UT forum.

I was glad to see the second most dangerous part of the mission (the launch) completed successfully. Next twelve days in orbit, and then the most dangerous part. With just a little bit of good fortune, they'll make it through that part just fine as well.