Letter to the Editor: is Money an Issue When It Comes to Human Lives?
Since the Columbia disaster on Feb. 1, NASAs officials will be doing intensive searching and researching trying to determine exactly what went wrong with the Columbia spaceship when and why. They will view and review, judging and prejudging all the facts before their investigation is finalized. At the present time all departments concerned are trying to shift the responsibility from one agency to the other one. The scientists are asking leading questions to the engineering department and vice versa.
While standing on the side line intensely watching the investigation, yet feeling no guilt of any involvement or for them to be considered as a group that played a major hand in the Columbia's disaster, is our legislative branch in Washington D.C. Yes, the House of Representatives and our U.S. Senate. Both chambers have repeatedly cut NASAs budget they have requested to keep its outer space program and equipment on top of the art form.
At the time the Columbia was built, word went out it was guaranteed to make 100 flights. Any one making that claim must have had bubbles for brains, as in anyone's common mind logic, no one could know or determine the amount of heat transfer and metal stress that would play on the internal frame work of the shuttle on its re-entry into the atmosphere.
Since we have had units make the re-entry from the stratosphere into the atmosphere traveling through that estimated 30 mile band (predicated on the time of the season) of atmosphere NASAs scientists have learned the shuttles outer shields heat up to and above 3,000 degrees and undergo horrendous amounts of vibration during this 30 mile re-entry in to Earth's atmosphere, all within approximately 30 seconds.
NASA has wanted a second shuttle to alternate flights, giving them a second unit to compare wear, tear, and metal stress and fatigue. Congress never gave them the money to do this. Congress should, but they will not step forward and take their fair share of the part they played in Columbia's failure in the overall scope of the incident. Our Washington Congress did have a large part to play in the Columbia disaster, by being too tight fisted. There is no fair equation when we compare astronaut's lives with paltry budget dollars. Especially when lives are involved.