NASA engineers have known for at least five years that insulating foam could peel off the space shuttle’s external fuel tanks and damage the vital heat-protecting tiles that the space agency says were the likely “root cause” of Saturday’s shuttle disaster.
The Jan. 16 launch wasn’t the first time that Columbia’s fragile tiles were pummeled by chunks of foam. It happened on the spacecraft’s first launch, and again, more severely, in 1997.
It’s no wonder NASA pulled the new insulation puff-piece off their website. And it seems the EPA may have some ‘splaining to do.