Tag Archives: space shuttle

After Ten Years: Enduring Lessons

From the Rogers Commission to reading Dr. Diane Vaughn’s book The Challenger Launch Decision took me 17 years.  For all those years I had learned the wrong lesson about the loss of Challenger.  The sound-bite explanation kept me in ignorance.  … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: Picking Up the Pieces

Starting the new job at KSC, I had set out from my home in Houston on January 30th, with the expectation of spending about three weeks on the job before getting a weekend back in Houston.  Among the most surreal … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: The Moment of Truth

Prior to the Challenger accident, the theory was that riding on the space shuttle was like riding on a modern jet airliner; passengers are not provided with parachutes and pressure suits. Challenger changed all that. With pressure suits, parachutes, and … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: Too Little, Too Late

First the official disclaimer: I can neither confirm nor deny that other national agencies might or might not have had capabilities that could have helped NASA during the last flight of Columbia. The fact of the matter is that in … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: Death Never Takes a Holiday

During the accident investigation there were several efforts to determine what might have been done to save Columbia and her crew. None of the concepts to plug the hole in the wing would have worked; most would have caused even … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: Counting Down to Disaster

Early on I decided that riding the NASA ‘corporate’ jet was not a real advantage.  NASA had acquired a number of used Gulfstream II corporate jets to be converted to Shuttle Training Aircraft.  Supposedly the Gulfstream people had upgraded to … Continue reading

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After Ten Years: STS-113, the Calm before the Storm

Of course the title is wrong; there was nothing calm about STS-113. I was the Ascent/Entry Flight Director as you can see in the picture of the mission control team. This ISS assembly and crew rotation flight was jam packed … Continue reading

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Ten Years After Columbia: Pennywise and Pound Foolish

“Relentless budget reduction pressures necessitate more dramatic program actions” – Brewster Shaw, Space Shuttle Program Manager, December 1994 Polls show that the general populace rates the Internal Revenue Service as the most disliked agency in the US Federal government.  Among … Continue reading

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Ten Years After Columbia: Balancing Work and Life

2002 was a tumultuous year in my personal life.  Last time I wrote about my work, my career, as a Space Shuttle Flight Director.  It was always more than a 40 hour a week job.  The question is how much … Continue reading

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After Ten Years – Dramatis Personae Part 1

Space Shuttle Program Management Council after Columbia In this picture from left to right:  Joyce Rozewski, Lee Norbraten, Sandy Coleman, Steve Doering, Jim Halsell, Dorothy Rasco, Bob Cabana, Steve Brettle, Dave Martin, Lambert Austin, Mike Wetmore, Bill Harris, Parker Counts, Ralph … Continue reading

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