Friday, June 30, 2006


Government secrecy: NASA denies release of documents critical of launch decision

The space shuttle Discovery is scheduled for liftoff tomorrow (Saturday), but is it safe to fly? Government secrecy is preventing the release of information that would indicate more work is needed before the approval to launch should be given.

Information formerly available to the public is being withheld by the Bush administration. This year, documents that were used during NASA's flight readiness review have been withheld, according to a report by South Florida TV station WKMG. The station reports:
E-mails sent to NASA's administrator from the agency's inspector general's office obtained by the Orlando Sentinel said they didn't believe shuttle Discovery should launch without more work to prevent foam insulation from breaking off the external fuel tank.

NASA already had a "no go" for flight from the agency's top safety official and chief engineer. However, NASA managers went ahead and gave the "go for launch" for Saturday.
Launching the flight under unsafe conditions could result in a tragedy that we all would like to see avoided. Shrouding the decisionmaking process in secrecy (why?) is not in the best interests of the crew.


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