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NASA engineers requested photographs of the shuttle - and were denied

On the second day of the "Columbia" launch, a group of engineers requested satellite images of the shuttle to assess the degree of damage to the left wing; The head of the shuttle crew determined that the photographs were inaccurate and rejected the request


"Columbia" before taking off.

The safety engineers at NASA asked the heads of the shuttle program to take satellite pictures of the body of the shuttle "Columbia" while it was flying in space, in order to find out the extent of the damage to the wing, but their request was rejected. This was revealed during the investigation of the events that led to the ferry crash at the beginning of February. NASA avoided contacting the CIA because this agency is busy preparing for the war in Iraq.

The "New York Times" reported yesterday that during the shuttle crew meeting, on the second day of the launch, the engineer asked Lambert Austin to order satellite images of the shuttle, which would allow to assess the significance of the impact of the piece of insulating foam on the left wing during the launch. His request, which came on behalf of other engineers, was intended to find out if it was a significant injury that could affect the safety of the flight, or if it was a minor blow that would not cause structural or thermal damage to the shuttle.
NASA had the option of contacting the American intelligence satellite agency, and requesting satellite images of the shuttle from one of the satellites that are permanently stationed in space. This procedure has already been carried out in other cases in the past.

At the meeting, the head of the shuttle crew, Ron Ditmore, rejected the engineer's request and said that there was no need for such a photo. The working assumption of the heads of NASA was, as they themselves stated in several briefings in the past, that the satellite photographs provide only a two-dimensional image, which does not allow understanding the depth of the damage to the wing insulation.

The engineers themselves believed that Ditmore did not have the necessary technical knowledge to understand what information could be extracted from the satellite images of the shuttle's hull, but they had to accept his determination.
Meanwhile, it was also reported that NASA is preparing to resume the flights of the space shuttles already this fall. The engineers of the US space agency were required to carry out "corrective actions" recommended by the body investigating the crash of the shuttle "Columbia".

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