Shuttle News: October 2005 Archives

"As a result of foam loss on STS-114, an ET Tiger Team was chartered by the Headquarters Mission Director for Space Operations (MDSO) and NASA's Chief Officer for Safety and Mission Assurance (COSMA), to review unexpected External Tank (ET) Thermal Protection System (TPS) foam loss."

NASA Internal Memo from Michael Griffin to William Gerstenmaier: In-Guide Option for FY 2007 Budget

"1. Assume serial processing of all Shuttle operations as soon as possible in FY06. Provide an estimate for the number of Shuttle flights that can realistically be flown between now and the end of FY2010, assuming serial processing. Specify all operational assumptions necessary to execute the serial processing plan, including required workforce reductions and cost impacts of such."

Editor's note: Among the options currently under consideration in response to this memo is reducing shuttle processing to a single shift (with large layoffs) to support a flight rate of 2 shuttle missions per year. This would, of course, dramatically reduce the number of flights available to build the ISS (7 ISS, 1 Hubble) which would almost certainly result in the inability to place international partner elements on-orbit. Stay tuned.

Editor's note: Mike Griffin recently had lunch with the President's Chief of Staff, Andrew Card. According to a number of poeple, in his retelling of that lunch, Griffin has told a number of people that the topic of the Space Shuttle came up. As Griffin recounts the conversation to people, Card is purported to have said words to the effect that the President is concerned about the Space Shuttle's safety, that he'd like to see it retired as soon as possible, and that the White House would not be all that upset if it never flew again.

Foam Damage Cause Announced

NASA Makes Progress Understanding Shuttle Tank Foam Loss

NASA: Shoddy Work Likely Caused Foam Loss, AP

"The investigation team found no evidence of negligence, said Gilbrech, who is deputy director of NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia. Workers followed procedures, "it's just we didn't really have an appreciation for the significance that this handling damage could have."

NASA Makes Progress Understanding Shuttle Tank Foam Loss

"At a news conference today at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, space shuttle managers emphasized they have not set a specific launch date. NASA is using the May 3 to 23, 2006, launch window as a target for work to prepare Discovery for the mission."

Editor's 13 Oct note: NASA held a PRCB today - the main topic was preparations for STS-121. In order to support a May 2006 launch date for STS-121, KSC needs the External Tank by 17 January 2006. The External Tank folks say that they can deliver it by 7 February 2006. However, that delivery date comes with some complex assumptions. The chance of making that date was estimated to range from 50% by MSFC to "somewhat less than 100%" by the External Tank folks. Wayne Hale is reported to have commented that he agreed to the estimate of less than 100%. At end of meeting, according to a knowledgeable source, Wayne Hale said "We have not set a launch date.I don't care what's in the newspapers this evening. So that we all understand, we have had an assessment. We'll come back on the 27th and MAYBE we'll set a launch date."

Should the Space Shuttle Fly Again?, Planetary Society

"The cost estimates for returning the shuttle to regular flights are also soaring an internal NASA memorandum has suggested that more than one billion dollars extra per year will be needed to meet the shuttles demands. With growing budget deficits, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and massive post-Katrina expenses, it is hard to see how that could happen. NASA may have to choose among continuing to fly the shuttle, getting started on space exploration, or cutting other elements of its program."

Message from the NASA Administrator Regarding Space Station and Space Shuttle Comments

"I'm sure you've seen the press coverage concerning my supposed comments on the space shuttle and International Space Station, beginning last Wednesday. I've been in Russia since the day the article came out, and have therefore missed most of the reaction to it, but I've received enough e-mail to realize that I didn't handle the situation well and have left some hurt feelings behind. So, I thought I should make the effort to clarify the situation, and this e-mail to all of you is the best way I know to do it."

Why the U.S. should return to the moon and venture on to Mars, (edited transcript), USA Today

"Q: In retrospect, was the shuttle program a mistake?
A: My opinion is that it was.

Q: Was the space station a mistake?
A: I would not have built the space station. We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."

More Foam Bad News

Space shuttle manager says workers may have damaged foam, AP

"Workers may have accidentally cut or crushed the section of foam that broke off Discovery's fuel tank during its launch two months ago a mishap that threatened the safety of the astronauts and grounded the shuttle fleet."

Shuttle Launch Date Slip

Insulation problem probably will delay next shuttle, Reuters

"NASA plans to push back its target for launching the next space shuttle from March to May as it tries to fix a problem with insulating foam that falls off the spacecraft's fuel tank, officials said on Friday."


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

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