Author Archives: waynehale

About waynehale

Wayne Hale is retired from NASA after 32 years. In his career he was the Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy for 5 years, a Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions, and is currently a consultant and full time grandpa. He is available for speaking engagements through Special Aerospace Services.

Will the World Go Back to Normal?

You cannot step twice into the same river – Heraclitus 540-480 B.C. Heraclitus says that we can’t ever step in the river twice; between footsteps the river changes – banks are washed away, new sandbars are formed, now more and … Continue reading

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Tracking Down Ghosts

I was recently contacted by some folks who were interested in – of all things – comments I made in a shuttle press conference some 8 or 10 years ago.  These folks were concerned that I and the shuttle team … Continue reading

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What Figure Did You Have In Mind?

“I can steal more money with a pencil than ten men with guns” – attributed to Al Capone’s bookkeeper Whenever I did a press conference around a Space Shuttle event, there would always be one super hard question that made … Continue reading

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Definition of Terms

I guess I’m getting to be an old curmudgeon (Hey Kids – get off my lawn!) but there are some irritants in life that just seem to capture my attention, no matter how trivial they may be.  So, if this … Continue reading

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Oops

Thanks to Iron Flight for reminding me of this obscure situation.  And for Holly who wants to understand. This mostly true story is about the Space Shuttle payload bay doors and what to do if they won’t shut properly.  And … Continue reading

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Night Flying

I just finished reading ‘Origins of 21st Century Space Travel’ SP-2019-4415 from the NASA history office.  A fascinating book recounting the development of the Vision for Space Exploration in the Bush administration leading up to 2004.  Most of the action … Continue reading

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Calculating the Risk

Recently I have been involved in discussions about public risk resulting from commercial space flight.  It is interesting to think back to the shuttle days and how those calculations were made. If you ever were invited to a shuttle launch … Continue reading

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Finding Meaning in Apollo

I was born before Sputnik.  Yep, that old. I grew up with the space age – the X planes, the Original 7, JPL sending Ranger to photo-bomb the Moon, JFK and LBJ, the whole enchilada. I was crushed with Mariner … Continue reading

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STS-121 The Hardest Launch Part 5: What Can We Learn?

Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the … Continue reading

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STS-121 The Hardest Launch Part 4: Damage to the Heatshield

The ultimate controversy at the STS-121 Flight Readiness Review was the potential of fatal damage to the space shuttle during launch from foam loss from the External Tank.  The possibility of a replay of the loss of Columbia was the … Continue reading

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