Although some experts thought that there were several safety issues that needed to be resolved, NASA gave the okay for Russia to launch the latest crew to the International Space Station.
Robert Mirelson, said there was a full discussion by mid- and management-level engineers and it was their conclusion that despite the experts’ concerns, the launch would be “well within the parameters of safety.”
Haven’t we heard that one before? The systems in question are unreliable medical equipment and air and water monitoring devices. And the complete lack of a radiation detector.
Oh, that’s all?
And this is the most troubling of all:
The Washington Post reported Thursday, however, that two officials overseeing health and environmental conditions on the space station didn’t sign off on the launch, instead signing a dissent that warned about “the continued degradation” of the environmental monitoring and health maintenance systems and exercise equipment vital to the astronauts’ well being.
They went ahead and launched even though the officials overseeing the systems in question not only didn’t sign off, but instead issued a warning of the dangers.
Is this the new safety-first NASA in action?
The new mission commander was told that the monitoring devices weren’t working properly, but there was not any reason to suspect that air or water conditions were at risk.
Well, without the monitoring equipment, we don’t know, do we? And if something did go wrong, would they know in time without reliable sensors? NASA’s response is basically that the astronauts can abandon ship if something goes wrong.
This is maybe being overblown, but I think that’s justified in the wake of Columbia. NASA like to point out that the crew of the ISS says they’re confident that everything is fine. Well, I’m sure the seven astronauts aboard the Columbia felt that way also. As did the crew and passengers aboard the Titanic.
If anything, NASA should be falling all over itself to over-protect its people. That they seem to be doing exactly the opposite mystifies me.