That Whole Rigamarole

Friday, February 21, 2003

Shuttle Update

This story from the AP hints at some of the dynamics I blogged about on the Saturday the Columbia broke up. I don't think this story says much that is new. The NASA engineers were concerned about the debris that departed the fuel tank and apparently hit the orbiter. The story suggests that they were anticipating trouble with the tires. It mentions a catastrophic failure result from a tire blowing up, but that's from last week and I don't know what it refers to. The e-mail that occasioned this story was apparently about risks and procedures for landing with a blown tire. I would certainly hope that hazard had been anticipated and planned for years ago. Hopefully this message traffic was the various engineers confirming the course of action in that event.

Nothing here suggests that even if the engineers had concluded that the orbiter might be in very deep trouble before re-entry, there was any better course available than to try to return.


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