Sunday, March 26, 2006

First RTF flight took more foam hits

Discovery endured more foam debris hits than average on the first post-Columbia mission. The damage sites were not as deep, but the number (176) is above the average (144) over the 25-year life of the shuttle program. That's one of several data points in a report in this morning's Florida Today regarding the decision to launch last year's return to flight mission and the parallels to decisions being made in the runup to the next flight this summer.

You can read the foam story here and a summary of what other independent reviewers have said on these issues here. For those who like to read detailed documentation, the stories include links to some of the studies and reports that we reviewed. Most are previously-released documents made public in the nine months since the accident. One not available anywhere else yet is the final post-flight inspection, which some call the "ding report." Check it out here. The other documents can be downloaded from links in the stories noted above.

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