Are NASA employees running on empty?

Posted By on July 1, 2006

Discovery on LaunchpadJust like employees in any struggling industry, NASA employees are pinning their hopes and jobs on a successful launch and mission. Discovery is scheduled to launch at 3:49 p.m. Saturday from the Kennedy Space Center, in Florida and could be NASA’s last chance to get it right. NASA’s administrator Michael Griffin gave a prelaunch news conference stating, “I worry that we spend so much time worrying about foam that we won’t worry about other things that could get us. We try to address them all.”

Over the past 3 years the shuttle fleet has been grounded twice for fuel tank redesigns and has had only one test flight last year with the shuttle Columbia. Discovery’s mission is a bit more ambitious although the primary goal is to safely launch and return of the shuttle and the astronauts. There are scenarios for reentry options: One, the astronauts could dock and/or repair at the space station. Two, Discovery could be ditched in the ocean on reentry and three it could be land leaving the astronauts behind on the space station.

The other question is the launch weather; as of this writing there is only a 40% chance of launch because of thunderstorms which mean the launch would be postponed until Sunday.

As a boy growing up, I watched the space program begin and saw our country proudly put a man on the moon (Neil Armstrong). I would like to see NASA continued to explore and succeed confidently again putting men and women in to space. Although I’m proud to see the international communities unite on the space station and private venture put a man into space, nothing compares to America’s national space program. Let’s hope the improvements in tank foam and repair tricks will work flawlessly. Discovery and her astronauts need to have a safe and successful mission to continue NASA’s future.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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