Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Sunday | February 02, 2003

Bush ignored pleas to ground Shuttle

Accidents happen, and as such, I am always leery of pointing fingers after one occurs. However, this is pretty damning:

Fears of a catastrophic shuttle accident were raised last summer with the White House by a former Nasa engineer who pleaded for a presidential order to halt all further shuttle flights until safety issues had been addressed.

In a letter to the White House, Don Nelson, who served with Nasa for 36 years until he retired in 1999, wrote to President George W. Bush warning that his 'intervention' was necessary to 'prevent another catastrophic space shuttle accident'.


White House officials rejected Nelson's plea for a moratorium. He tried to talk again to Nasa's administration about his worries in October but was again rebuffed.

In addition, there's this:
They followed similar warnings last April by the former chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory panel, Richard Bloomberg, who said: 'In all of the years of my involvement, I have never been as concerned for space shuttle safety as now.'

Bloomberg blamed the deferral or elimination of planned safety upgrades, a diminished workforce as a result of hiring freezes, and an ageing infrastructure for the advisory panel's findings.

NASA mismanagement and budget cuts may or may not have begun under Clinton. But fact is, Bush had the information he needed to ground the shuttle fleet until safety concerns could be addressed, and he could've provided NASA with the budget to make this happen. He did neither.

Posted February 02, 2003 08:41 AM | Comments (66)


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