USA Today's Doomsday Scenario

The mission NASA hopes won't happen, USA Today

"Such a mercy mission would be dramatic, the most daring trip in the history of space exploration, but it could also force NASA to break its own safety rules. And it would end the USA's ability to send astronauts into orbit for years, even decades."

Editor's note: How do you arrive at this conclusion, Traci?

First of all - no cause for such a future accident has been put forth - it could well be one beyond NASA's control. Second, there would still be two orbiters left - certainly not the best of situations, but not a total lack of launch capability. Third - no astronauts in orbit for "decades"? Where did you get that? The process of developing the CEV is underway. Flight of the CEV will begin toward the end of this decade. Congress might intervene - but they might well push NASA to retire the Shuttle even sooner and accelerate CEV development as well.

"Any rescue flight also would likely doom the half-built International Space Station, because the station can only be finished through an active shuttle program."

Huh? Soyuz and Progress spacecraft can sill reach it, resupply it, reboost it. Russian ELVs launched some of its main components. To be certain lofting larger pieces would take some work, but to say that the ISS would be doomed is just arm waving on your part. Even if nothing else was not added, it works just fine - and can continue to do so for years. That is hardly the definition of being "doomed".

Further, you criticize NASA for not mounting a rescue mission during the STS-107 mission noting "But independent investigators soon dispelled any beliefs that a rescue would not have succeeded" - a rescue mission that would have had to have been developed in real time and cut many safety corners, yet you are critical of a well- planned rescue mission (STS-300) which "could also force NASA to break its own safety rules." You can't have both both ways. Rescue missions involve risk. You only do them because you have no choice.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on March 22, 2005 8:18 AM.

Chris Shank is Moving On - But Not Far was the previous entry in this blog.

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