No Hope for NASA?

16 December 2004: Astronaut Says Space Shuttle Safer, AP

"Legendary astronaut John Young said Thursday, on the verge of his retirement, that NASA has not changed its safety culture since the Columbia accident but has done all it can to improve the space shuttle and should return to flight as soon as possible. NASA and the nation should just accept the failure rate of 1-in-57 shuttle flights, Young said, stressing that space exploration is well worth the risk."

Editor's note: To be certain, there is such a thing as 'acceptable risk'. To fly in space, one must accept that a certain level of risk will always be there. But to just throw up your hands, as Young has done, and say nothing has changed - and that its not worth the effort to try and get better - is defeatism of the first order. It is curious that he feels this way when you recall that a contemporary of his, Gene Kranz, coined the phrase "failure is not an option". If someone with Young's incredible career feels this way about NASA, what sort of message does this send to those still at NASA - and those who aspire to work there? Not a good one if you ask me. [And yes folks, thanks for reminding me, I know that Kranz never actually uttered that phrase - but he has since embraced it as his own and titled a book with those words].

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on December 16, 2004 9:05 PM.

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