NASA's chief had harsh words for the space shuttle and International Space Station, calling them costly strategic mistakes in an interview out Wednesday that raised doubts about US commitment to getting the shuttle back in flight.
Asked by the daily USA Today if the decision to build a shuttle back in the 1970s, to replace the Apollo program, was a mistake, Michael Griffin said: "It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path. We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can. My opinion is that it was" a mistake.
"It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible. Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in," Griffin added.
The shuttle fleet, which has flown since 1981, has had two major disasters, with the 1986 Challenger explosion and 2003 in-flight breakup of the Columbia, claiming the lives of 14 astronauts. Amid concerns about the aging fleet, President George W. Bush decided to end flights in 2010.
The Columbia accident suspended flights for two and one half years. Problems with getting the shuttle back in service in mid-2005 lent weight to some people's argument that the current shuttle simply should be abandoned in favor of an upcoming replacement vehicle.
That vehicle was expected to fly from 2012 but might be able to get into service sooner if NASA stops spending on shuttles and instead focuses on it.
"If we intend to keep our commitments and are unable to finish with the shuttle, then (we) will use the new system. It comes down to writing the check. (The shuttle) might not have been able to fly again at all. Of course, if additional bad things happen, we'll reevaluate," Griffin told The Washington Post on September 22.
All rights reserved. � 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
NASA Ships Shuttle Fuel Tank To New Orleans For Modification
New Orleans MS (SPX) Sep 28, 2005
Less than a month after being hit by Hurricane Katrina, NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is gearing up to restart processing space shuttle fuel tanks. The work will address foam loss during Space Shuttle Discovery's launch in July.
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|