Monday, August 01, 2005

"Some bad things could happen"

The space shuttle has some strips of filler material protruding from its heat shielding:

Wayne Hale, the deputy shuttle program manager, told a news conference that engineers simply did not know enough about the problem to leave it unattended, so they decided to conduct the spacewalk Wednesday to "set our minds at rest."

"At the end of the day, the bottom line is there is large uncertainty because nobody has a very good handle on the aerodynamics at those altitudes and at those speeds," Hale said. "Given that large degree of uncertainty, life could be normal during entry or some bad things could happen."

First the foam, now this. For God's sake - isn't it time to just shut down the whole shuttle program and find some other route to orbit? The shuttle program is like a car with 100,000 miles on it - there are a hundred little things decaying and going awry. But we don't launch cars into space.