“We are go for launch”

The following is a summary of comments made during the press conference that followed the flight readiness review board meeting.

Most of the discussion continued to focus on the ice frost ramps.  The safety office and chief engineers office both voted “no go for launch” because of their concerns about the ice frost ramps and the potential for foam loss.  Wayne Hale, Shuttle Program Director, said, “… at the end of the day, some people still had reservations and they expressed those reservations.”  Mike Griffin, NASA Administrator, further elaborated by saying, “I don’t agree with the way we have categorized that risk as being probable.  If it is going to be probable, then that means, over some reasonable span of flight, I would expect to see eveidence of that behavior [foam loss from the ice frost ramps].”

So what does this mean?  How can two members of the review team vote “no go” but still have an overall recommendation for launch?  The answer is that a decision to launch does not require a unanimous vote.  Mike Griffin, as the administrator, has the final say.  And in his own words, Dr. Griffin said, “We know we have a problem.  We are electing to take the risk.  We do not belive we are risking crew.”

Launch countdown starts on Wednesday, June 28th.

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