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Space Shuttle safety issues

[JURIST] On April 18, 2002, former NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel official website] Chairman Richard D. Blomberg testified to Congress on the ASAP's Annual Report for 2001 [PDF text], and expressed his concern that "the repeated postponement of safety upgrades, the delay in restoring ageing infrastructure and the failure to look far enough ahead to anticipate and correct shortfalls in critical skills and logistics availability will inevitably increase the risk of operating the Space Shuttle [emphasis added]." He concluded with these words: "In all of the years of my involvement, I have never been as concerned for Space Shuttle safety as I am right now. That concern is not for the present flight or the next or perhaps the one after that. In fact, one of the roots of my concern is that nobody will know for sure when the safety margin has been eroded too far. All of my instincts, however, suggest that the current approach is planting the seeds for future danger [emphasis added]." Read the full text of Blomberg's prepared testimony [also available in PDF] before the House Science Committee Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics and review the oral transcript of his remarks and subsequent questioning. Watch a webcast of the complete hearing (Blomberg's testimony begins approximately 22 minutes into the hearing video). NASA's official response to the 2001 ASAP report is Attachment 3 of the Minutes of the ASAP Open Meeting of June 20, 2002 [PDF text]. NASA's Inspector General filed an audit report on Space Shuttle Safety Upgrades [audit report text, PDF] in July 2002. See also the August 2000 GAO report Space Shuttle: Human Capital and Safety Upgrade Challenges Require Continued Attention [PDF text].

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