NASA is in the news for all the wrongs reasons again:
An independent health panel disclosed Friday that, at least twice, astronauts were cleared to fly despite warnings from flight surgeons and other astronauts about their heavy drinking.
In both cases, the doctors and other astronauts were ignored by higher-ranking officials. Flight surgeons feel so disregarded, in general, that they told the panel they are demoralized and less likely to report concerns of impaired performance.
The Associated Press analysis blames it on schedule pressure:
It always seems to come down to schedule pressure, which contributed in large part to Columbia’s demise, Osheroff noted.
“I think part of it is still this pressure to launch and launch on time,” he said. “I don’t know what it costs NASA to delay a launch. But there are two costs. One is a political cost and the other is an economic cost.”
Schedule pressure? Must sound familiar to folks working on software, and reminds me of this!
Another revelation is more shocking:
NASA also disclosed last week that a worker deliberately cut wires in equipment headed for the International Space Station; the sabotage was detected and would’ve posed no danger, officials said.
All this is sad. NASA is already short of funding and these revelations are a big setback to its struggle for an image overhaul since the Columbia 2003 disaster. This is definitely NOT The Right Stuff.
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