Ed Driscoll

INSPECTIONS OF KEY AEROSPACE HARDWARE

INSPECTIONS OF KEY AEROSPACE HARDWARE STUBBORNLY REJECTED: in this case, by NASA, unfortunately:

Two or three days after the space shuttle Columbia’s liftoff, a group of NASA engineers asked the shuttle program manager to request the aid of United States spy satellites in determining the extent of debris damage to the shuttle’s left wing, but the manager declined to do so, a senior NASA official said yesterday.

Hubris? Short-sightedness? Fear of rocking the boat? It’s hard to understand how someone could say no to such a request. The Times article quotes an unnamed NASA official who says, “When a group of engineers puts forward a request, they’re not doing it for grins and giggles. Within their minds, they thought that was a path that would resolve some final concerns. I don’t know if it was a cost issue, a timing issue. I don’t know if assets could not be arranged.”