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Columbia Tragedy


Here is an interesting new angle on this from NR reader Vern Pall, who is a
retired Air Force Major. “…Each day brings new stories that reveal that
NASA knew they were sending a sick bird aloft. While in orbit, the shuttle
poses no threat to those who live below; if it blows up, most of the debris
will burn up on re-entry. What bothers me and many others is this: When the
shuttle blows up, as Columbia did, after entering the atmosphere, it becomes
a threat to everyone beneath its flight path. It is a miracle that no one
was hurt on February 1, when tons of debris rained down. Some of us, retired
Air Force officers, have formed an organization called SAFE SKIES. What we
are proposing is that NASA continue to launch the shuttles as they now do
from Florida, but recover them at Edwards AFB in California, thereby keeping
the shuttle over the Pacific ocean until moments before touchdown.
Presently, when weather precludes a landing in Florida the shuttle lands at Edwards, and is then flown back to Florida on a modified 747. All we are asking is that the Edwards recovery be made standard procedure for shuttle flights. In future disasters, we may not be as lucky as we were on February 1. Just think of the collateral losses if an airliner had been struck by falling debris.”


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