NASA Statement on Decision to Launch Shuttle Discovery
The following is a statement from NASA Chief Safety and Mission Assurance Officer Bryan O'Connor and Chief Engineer Chris Scolese on decision to launch the Space Shuttle Discovery in July, despite reservations:
"Crew safety is our first and most important concern. We believe that our crew can safely return from this mission.
"We both feel that there remain issues with the orbiter -- there is the potential that foam may come off at time of launch. That's why we feel we should redesign the ice/frost ramp before we fly this mission. We do not feel, however, that these issues are a threat to safe return of the crew. We have openly discussed our position in the Flight Readiness Review -- open communication is how we work at NASA. The Flight Readiness Review board and the administrator have heard all the different engineering positions, including ours, and have made an informed decision and the agency is accepting this risk with its eyes wide open."