The human cost of having your priorities ALL WRONG
b_rieux at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 3 03:21:09 MST 2003
What is the connection between 9-11 and Iraq?
Simple, that the US military and intelligence
were so busy getting ready to attack Iraq that
they were distracted and got caught completely by
surprise on 9-11.
What is the connection between the recent Space
Shuttle disaster? Quite possibly, the same: the
US federal government and military-aerospace
contractors are so busy getting ready for the
attack on Iraq that they let NASA down. Why would
they do this? Simple--profits.
I've found a lot more problems with the Space
Shuttles than the cracks that shut down the
program last June.
Aug. 26, 2000
Columbia has 3,500 defects in wiring
By Steven Siceloff
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Examinations of NASA's
oldest shuttle have revealed far more wiring
problems than expected, a Boeing Co. official
Shuttle Columbia, which first flew in 1981, has
five times the problems that NASA's three other
shuttles showed during their wiring inspections,
Charles Williams, the manager for Boeing's
shuttle overhaul program, said from Palmdale,
Columbia developed wiring problems after a July
1999 mission, prompting a complete wiring
inspection for it and the other three shuttles -
Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour.
The inspections revealed about 600 to 700 wiring
defects in Atlantis, Discovery and Endeavour, but
Columbia showed up in California with about
3,500, Williams said. He added that wiring
problems ranged from nicked paint on the wire
covering to more serious abrasions.
Eventually, following the terrible Challenger
accident in 1986, NASA announced that another and
final space shuttle would be constructed to
replace it. The newly built Space Shuttle
Endveavour (OV-105) was flown to and accepted at
KSC in May 1991.
However, since it was being the last to be built
it made some of the Palmdale, California shuttle
construction facility crews of technicians,
welders, engineers, etc., very dismayed at the
potential of losing their highly paid jobs. In
fact, a small number were upset enough to take it
out on the very advanced craft they had built -
Endeavour. When this highly advanced shuttle with
updated computer systems, hydraulics, etc.,
arrived at KSC, we at the OPF immediately began
to discover "problems" with the various systems
and especially with debris in the fuel lines,
environmental systems, etc. We discovered wrapped
uneaten and partially consumed sandwiches, cakes,
old rags, hats and anything that could clog the
very lines that our astronauts would actually
place their lives on for reliability. It could
even be called sabotage.
Those reported problems while in orbit with the
recent STS-109 Columbia Shuttle are reminiscent
of those days with the arrival of Endeavour. Why?
Because NASA announced weeks ago that the future
upgrading of all shuttle systems will now be
transferred to KSC, Florida. This, in all
likelihood means the end of work for thousands in
Palmdale, California. So I ask - was their anger
taken out on Columbia in the same way it was on
Men and women without jobs take extreme measures
at times and this seems to fit those recent space
shuttle problems during the mission that recently
ended. Thank God the mission was successful and
without dangerous incident.
It pains me to admit that there are those who
would jeopardize astronauts and space vehicles
when faced with losing their very livelihood.
Terrorists are not the only people we must guard
against. It's human nature.
We must not have another Challenger occur with
all the aftermath and possibly shut down shuttle
flights and service to the International Space
The men and women I personally worked with at KSC
were very loyal and exceptionally proud of
working on such leading edge technology and
science. I will be forever proud of being allowed
the privilege of such an association for my
nation and the human race that spanned from 1958
to 1992. I thank my government and you, the tax
Clark C. McClelland
Former ScO, Space Shuttle Fleet, KSC, Florida
clark002 at hotmail.com
The recent blizzard of U.S. space accidents
traceable to sloppiness applies not only to the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration but
also to its aerospace contractors, such as
Lockheed Martin and Boeing. The total costs far
exceed $3 billion, out of an annual national
space budget of about $30 billion. Errors can
never be totally eliminated--this is rocket
science, after all. But many observers have been
alarmed at the apparent increase, which could be
a symptom of deeper problems that could lead to
more failures in the future. Observers and
old-time NASA personnel fear that the agency's
current philosophies, including its "faster,
better, cheaper" credo--the use of more frequent
but smaller-scale, less expensive missions--may
not be leaving enough room for quality control.
FAA finds faults and failures at Boeing
Investigators from the U.S. Federal Aviation
reported finding "deep-rooted, systemic"
manufacturing problems at Boeing Co.s commercial
jet plants. The company reacted by adding 370
full-time inspectors, as well part-time ones, to
improve quality control. That addition comes on
top of the companys 4500-strong quality control
workforce and the approximately 500 FAA
Among the problems the FAA cited were incomplete
or overly complex production processes,
inadequate work instructions, inadequate product
inspections, and a workforce in which some
members were "not knowledgeable" of proper
procedures. The audit included inspection of
plants from December through February of 2000 at
Seattle, Everett, Renton, Auburn, Fredrickson,
and Spokane, all in Washington State, as well as
at Portland, Ore. A Boeing official said some
analysis and procedural changes related to the
FAA audit will not be completed until 2002.
FAA did not specify whether fines would be
imposed on the aircraft manufacturer.
On the other hand, defense contractors are
growing. For example, Boeing is building a new
30,000-square-foot factory in St. Charles. Since
the company has doubled production every year for
four years, the old facility couldn't get the job
The company's suppliers, such as Lockheed,
Honeywell, and Textron, are also ramping up
production. As the product gets used, says Mr.
Algarotti, it receives more attention from
foreign buyers. "We should be at a higher level
of production through the end of the decade," he
This last link shows who NASA's top contractors
are. They are, unsurprisingly Boeing and
Lockheed, but Bush and Cheney interests such as
Halliburton and Carlyle Group holdings show up as
My theory: Boeing (and possibly Lockheed) is most
responsible here. They have been (1) cutting
personnel while (2) shuffling production to more
profitable areas (such as outfitting the US
military forces for the war on Iraq).
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