Not â€˜rolling the diceâ€™: 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.
NASA nixes Oceaneering’s suit contract; reopens bidding
“NASA has terminated Houston-based Oceaneering International’s contract to develop a new generation of spacesuits and is reopening the bidding for the $184 million contract.
“Responding to a complaint filed by rival bidder Exploration Systems & Technology of Houston, the space agency has asked the two companies to make “limited” revisions and then resubmit their proposals.”
NASA contractors locked in legal battle
“A potentially damaging legal dustup has broken out between the contractor running NASAâ€™s space shuttle and the company in charge of the next rocket program.
“The heart of the complaint is that Alliant Techsystems Inc., or ATK, which is designing the Ares rockets that will take astronauts back to the moon by 2020, is poaching skilled engineers from United Space Alliance, or USA, NASAâ€™s prime shuttle contractor.”