USA CEO: Critics Exaggerating Shuttle Safety Issues

Not ‘rolling the dice’: Shuttle safety debate painting wrong picture
Florida Today Op-Edit
Richard Covey, United Space Alliance CEO

The ongoing debate regarding the safety of flying the space shuttle beyond 2010 has been unfairly slanted in recent weeks by the use of sensational and vastly misunderstood risk probability numbers, suggesting NASA would be rolling the dice to do so.

Space shuttle safety is not a random event. It is derived from carefully understanding and then controlling or mitigating known risks. Instead of rolling dice and hoping to randomly avoid snake eyes, suppose each die were carefully placed on the table with anything but the one-dot side up. Snake eyes would most certainly always be avoided. The more care used in placing each die correctly on the table, the less chance that snake eyes would ever occur.