7 NASA panelists report program is still troubled

Traci Watson in USA Today:

ShuttleThe culture inside the space shuttle program remains arrogant, sloppy and schedule-driven, says a scathing statement published Wednesday by a faction on the panel that oversaw NASA’s efforts to return the shuttle to space.

The statement, which was not endorsed by the majority of the oversight panel, comes three weeks after NASA put shuttle flights on hold until it can keep debris from falling off the fuel tank. Such foam debris triggered the disintegration of shuttle Columbia in 2003 and plagued the flight of shuttle Discovery, which landed Aug. 9.

The main report says NASA fulfilled 10 of 13 safety goals the agency accepted after the accident, which were laid out by the accident investigators and included steps such as development of a technique to fix the ship in orbit. The main report does not comment on the shuttle program’s culture, which was not part of the panel’s official purview. The minority statement is included as an annex to the main report, as are statements from other panelists praising NASA.

More here.  [Thanks to Winfield J. Abbe.]