Because Learning From Mistakes Is For Wusses

If I were an astronaut, I sure wouldn’t be thrilled to see stories like this showing up before my flight:

Nasa is to launch the space shuttle Discovery on 1July, despite warnings from senior safety officials and engineers that it is not safe to fly…

Safety officials said modifications carried out since the problem recurred a year ago were still not enough.

But managers decided to go ahead, insisting the crew was not at risk.

“There were very different viewpoints on the issue ofwhether we were ready to fly or not,” Nasa administrator MichaelGriffin told a news conference.

“I can’t possibly accept every recommendation given to me by every member of my staff, especially when they all don’t agree.”

Maybe not, but you could always make your default position to hold back from launching if a significant portion of your staff thinks going ahead would put lives at risk, no?

(For more background on why the Shuttle program is so screwed up, here’s a post I wrote in 2003 on the subject.)



July 11, 2006
9:45 pm

Astronauts are quite career-o-centric, to begin with. Believe me, unless you are one then you aren’t a member of their club. They do what they do because they are quite tunnel visioned and they are pursuing that which interests them most. If you gave them Oscar the grouch’s Garbage can and said, “That’s the best we can do.” They’d still go despite the fact old Oscar’s can is a hunk of junk and hardly space worthy. The Commander of this mission publicly engaged in the obligatory “chest beating” stating if he thought that NASA wasn’t being safe he, personally, would stop the whole show. Um, right, that’s just sooooo believeable.