Shuttle News: April 2005 Archives

Transcript of a NASA Press Briefing with Bill Parsons, Wayne Hale, and Bill Gerstenmaier

"MR. HALE: Well, I'd just say that one of the things we've learned, or I've learned anyway, is you have to be very careful with your every-day intuition in this business because what we're dealing with defies every-day intuition, whether you're talking about orbital mechanics or in fact ice."

Transcript of Press Conference with NASA Adminstrator Mike Griffin and SMOD AA Bill Readdy on STS-114 Launch Delay Decision, NASA HQ

"[Griffin] Part of the problem, I think, is that as the decades have gone by, when we have been able to do human space flight, we've come to accept it as more or less routine. From an engineering point of view, it isn't. When some of us--some of you weren't even born, but when some of us were, say, 12 years and we launched Alan Shepherd (sic), everybody knew that Al was risking his life. That's why they were heroes. The people who get on the shuttle today and fly it or who have flown it, such as my compatriot here, are every bit as much heroes as Al Shepherd (sic), Gus Grissom, John Glenn on his first flight, every bit as bold, courageous, and risk-taking, as were the astronauts of a generation or two generations ago."

Space Shuttle Return to Flight Task Group Postpones Meeting

"The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group is postponing its public meeting and news conference scheduled for Friday, May 6, in Houston. New dates for a public meeting and media briefing have not been set."

Sen. Hutchison Expresses Support for NASA Administrator's Decision to Delay Return to Flight

Editor's note: commenting on this release, Sen. Hutchison's press officer, Chris Paulitz, added "Last night, when Sen. Hutchison spoke with Dr. Griffin, she told him she worked hard to get him confirmed quickly just for this purpose -- so he would have ample time to look at the systems thoroughly before launch. This is exactly why, as subcommittee chair, she worked so hard to get him confirmed in a timely manner through her committee."

Editor's update: NASA will hold a press conference on Friday at 10:30 am EDT at NASA Headquarters with Bill Readdy and Mike Griffin. This will be followed at 11:30 am EDT by another press event from Johnson Space Center. Both events will air live on NASA TV.

Editor's note: Around 6:00 pm EDT Thursday evening NASA decided to delay the launch of STS-114 until July. The new launch window extends from 12 - 31 July. Although NASA will eventually have to roll Discovery back to the VAB for External Tank modifications, it is not likely to do so right away. Instead, NASA will continue to conduct tests at the pad to better understand several anomalies observed during tests last week - tests that could only have been done at the pad.

NASA ponders launch delay, Orlando Sentinel

"NASA managers are close to deciding whether to delay the space shuttle's return to flight from May until July to reduce the risk of damaging ice debris breaking off the ship's external fuel tank."

Dan Rather Does RTF

60 Minutes, CBS

Wed., April 27, at 8 p.m. ET/PT: "NASA astronauts prepare for a historic and dangerous mission: the first space shuttle launch since the Columbia tragedy two years ago. Correspondent Dan Rather reports."

CBS promo pictures below:

Return to Flight Task Group Plans Final Public Meeting & Briefing

"The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group final public meeting is at 8:30 a.m. EDT, Friday, May 6. It will be followed by an afternoon news conference."

NASA Is Said to Loosen Risk Standards for Shuttle, NY Times

"Experts who have seen the documents say they do not suggest that the shuttle Discovery - scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on May 22 - is unsafe, but a small but forceful minority say they worry that NASA is repeating a practice that contributed to the Columbia disaster: playing down risks to continue sending humans into space. The documents were given to The New York Times by several NASA employees, who did so on the condition of anonymity, saying they feared retribution."

"James Wetherbee, a former shuttle commander and safety official who recently retired from NASA..."

Editor's note: No one - neither Wetherbee - or the reporter who quotes him - makes note that Wetherbee is currently being paid as a NASA consultant - and that he was hired to help JSC and NASA improve "culture".

3:53 pm EDT: Waiting 20+ minutes for telecon to start. PAO is having a problem rounding up the participants.

Bill Parsons: The DCR (Design Certification Review) was held yesterday. DCR went well. Bill Readdy, Mike Kostelnik, Mike Griffin and four Space Operation Center Directors attended.There was still some analysis that remained to be done prior to FRR (Flight Readiness Review). We also have some remaining debris work to do. After DCR, we decided to pick another launch date. 22 May is the new target launch date. Launch time is 1:03 PM EDT - with a 5 minute window.

Letter from NASA Space Missions Operations Directorate AA Bill Readdy to Return to Flight Teammates

"Although we know much more than ever before in the history of the Space Shuttle program about the previously unknown or unappreciated risks and we've reduced the risk substantially, we must accept the fact that we can never eliminate all the risks. There can be no 'singing ourselves to sleep' that we've fixed everything possible, nor could we ever. Spaceflight, even more than aviation, has been terribly unforgiving of carelessness, oversight or neglect. So we must remain diligent, disciplined and vigilant."

Crew: NASA's attitudes still need to change, USA Today

"Collins said that before relying on repair materials to get home, she would like to see them thoroughly tested. Her crew plans to perform tests of some repair techniques, then, after landing, hand the samples to engineers for more tests. "I have always believed that a repair method should be tested in the vacuum of space, brought back home and run through ... a test facility," Collins said.In February, astronauts said that rather than trusting an untested repair, they would prefer to use the space station as a lifeboat in an emergency. NASA estimates that Collins's crew could survive nearly seven weeks on the station."

Confusion Over STS-114 RCC Surveys?

Shuttle panel divided over NASA compliance, MSNBC

"I heard things went non-linear on the first day when [task group member] Dan Crippen basically led a revolt," against Tom Stafford and Richard Covey, the two former astronauts leading the group, the CAIB member told on condition of anonymity. The revolt's basic premise, this source said, was that NASA was not ready to fly since "none of the hard recommendations have been met and NASA is 'diddling' with the numbers to make it appear they are working."

Space Station Crew Photographs NASA Shuttle Discovery's Rollout to Launch Complex 39B - From Orbit

"Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 10 Commander Leroy Chiao used a digital camera April 6 to photograph the rollout of the Space Shuttle Discovery at NASA's Kennedy Space Center from an altitude of 220 statute miles."

Editor's note:You can also view KSC's Shuttle launch pads using Google's new satellite imagery service.

RTF Date Slipping?

Risks remain as launch nears, Houston Chronicle

"We are being much more meticulous than we have been in the past," said Bill Parsons, NASA's space shuttle program manager. "I would says it's fairly 50-50 right now (that) we would make the opening of the window, but we will keep marching toward that."

Shuttle May Miss Liftoff Date Now Penciled In, Official Says, NY Times

"While workers at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have done everything they can to get the Discovery ready, Mr. Parsons said, a series of minor delays have used up all contingency days allowed in the schedule for unexpected problems. He insisted that NASA was not rushing to meet a scheduled launching date, a practice for which the agency has been criticized because it compromises safety. "May 15 is just a goal," Mr. Parsons said."

NASA Presolicitation Notice: Sponsorship Opportunity for Bandwidth Support to Return to Flight Missions (STS-114, STS-121)

"As Discovery and Atlantis are readied for their respective Return to Flight Missions, NASA is preparing to meet public demand to see the launches and missions. NASA's primary method for disseminating content is via the NASA Web Portal ( Based on data from previous missions (Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Huygens Landing, etc) we expect 20 to 30 million visits to the NASA Web Portal with 250,000 to 500,000 Internet users also accessing NASA TV coverage via Web Streaming."

NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale: What I learned at ISOS

"So the fundamental question remains, do we have those qualities that made our ancestors successful?Do we have the judgment to weigh it all in the balance? Do we have the character to dare great deeds?

History is watching."



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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from April 2005.

Shuttle News: March 2005 is the previous archive.

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