Sunday, July 31, 2005

The Goofiest Liftoff Ever

HOUSTON, Texas (AFP) -
NASA administrator Michael Griffin said Sunday that the US space agency had "goofed" on vital safety checks before launching the shuttle Discovery and that it was "lucky" the shuttle had not sustained serious damage during liftoff.

Facing down questions over a stray shard of foam which broke off from an external tank during Discovery's launch on Tuesday, Griffin told NBC's "Meet the Press" that pre-launch checks had fallen short.

"Our judgement at the time was that it was okay," the NASA chief said of the structural reviews of the external tank and other vital equipment that was examined before Discovery's liftoff.

"As everyone has said without any attempt to hide it ... we goofed on that one," he said.

Um, did the Director of NASA actually use the term "goofed" to describe the potentially life-threatening gaps in safety checks prior to the shuttle launch? GOOFED? How about "everyone involved is being fired" or "this type of shoddy workmanship is unacceptable for any reason"? The lives of the Discovery crew is at stake, and these guys "goofed"?! No. They were lazy. They were imprecise. They were incompetent.

Geez, I sure hope the pilot of my jetliner doesn't "goof," I hope the guy driving my kids' schoolbus doesn't "goof," I hope my brain surgeon doesn't "goof." The use of that term is as embarrassing as it is appalling. Someone get this guy a PR handler, and fast...


Raine said...

I'm curious if you've read my rant on this?

E said...

I haven't. I'm off to do so right now!

Emily said...

Definitely are some cavalier attitudes here. I guess space people have spaced out senses of humor.

Raine said...

The fact that the ones making the jokes are safe and sound on terra firma disgusts me to no end. NASA as it is now is a failing mess, run by a bunch of snivelling bureaucrats, and paid for out of a miniscule fund. Obviously, the Bush administration sees a brighter future on the end of a nuclear missile, then on another planet.

Gha, there's just too much wrong with NASA to let it continue as it is. I'd recommend suspending the program until a new administration comes along, but NASA's contribution is required to keep the ISS up.

After all, it was one of the administration's first actions: cut NASA funding (and thus, two thruster modules for the ISS). Now, the aging shuttles are a necessary risk to keep an even greater tragedy from happening.

How long until this house of cards comes down?

kingoftherabbits said...

I think they should have used the expression "oops" too. And that's "nuculer missile" dontcha know.

Anonymous said...

"Goof" is actually a technical term in aeronautical parlance. I am surprised that readers of this blog are not aware of, nevermind.

Messenger said...

Anon, the term "goof" is globally applicable - as in Bush-Cheney-Rumsfelt goofed in Iraq.