NASA to be judge and jury on shuttle launch
Still green NASA administrator Dr. Michael Griffin announced that he would consider launching the space shuttle Discovery without the final word of an independent panel.
The Stafford-Covey panel, an investigative group formed following the Columbia disaster in 2003, has yet to approve certain safety recommendations for Discovery.
One of the recommendations has to do with the composition and arrangements of heat shields and the possibility of in-flight repair.
Griffin said that he would leave the decision to okay the launch, scheduled between May 15 and June 3, to his own managers and engineers at NASA.
When asked if he would allow the launch without approval by Stafford-Covey, Griffin said, “In concept, yes I would.”
He continued, “advisory groups advise. We need to take our advice seriously and… we need never to be defensive when receiving advice from outside.
“But at the end of the day, the people wearing government and contractor badges charged with launching the vehicle will be the ones who are responsible and accountable for their actions.”