Saturday, January 28, 2006

MSNBC Issues Boilerplate Lies About Space Shuttle Disaster

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Calling the accusation that the White House applied political pressure on NASA to hurry up and launch the Challenger "a myth", MSNBC carries GOP water, as always, when anyone blows a whistle, they are called liars or insane. I was very involved in the debate about the launch when it was happening. The very strong concerns of the technicians on the ground were overridden by the top administrators of NASA and then, to cover up, they had to make up ridiculous stories which are easily debunked.

Myth #6: Political pressure forced the launch

There were pressures on the flight schedule, but none of any recognizable political origin. Launch officials clearly felt pressure to get the mission off after repeated delays, and they were embarrassed by repeated mockery on the television news of previous scrubs, but the driving factor in their minds seems to have been two shuttle-launched planetary probes. The first ever probes of this kind, they had an unmovable launch window just four months in the future. The persistent rumor that the White House had ordered the flight to proceed in order to spice up President Reagan’s scheduled State of the Union address seems based on political motivations, not any direct testimony or other first-hand evidence. Feynman personally checked out the rumor and never found any substantiation. If Challenger's flight had gone according to plan, the crew would have been asleep at the time of Reagan's speech, and no communications links had been set up.
We had FOUR MONTHS "window of opportunity." So why the rush? Why worry about a six hour delay which was all the engineers were asking for? A 24 hour delay?

Why was the media howling at NASA? They don't howl at NASA unless there is some political pressure to howl at NASA and that comes from the political side of the street. I didn't know of a single scientist at JPL, for example, yelling for a quick as possible launch! Indeed, they were the ones calling for it to not be launched and the probes were their babies!

Next: the idea that the astronauts would all be "asleep" at the wheel by 8pm is totally stupid. What? Huh? Were they all Bush clones? I can easily wake up at 4am and run things until midnight, this is my normal schedule! And the excitement of a great trip into space? Running around for 24 hours is a cinch. Indeed, no one is sent into space to snooze. The missions are fairly short in duration, a tiny handful of days. So sleep is kept to a minimum, not a maximum! Occassional cat naps. And not everyone sleeping at once, either. Jeeze. This is why anyone going into space has to be fit and not only that, very strong, endurance-wise. No Bushes go into space!

This sort of infantile stuff posted by MSNBC really steams me. Of course, top NASA authorities will never suggest they were pressured by the White House. Biting the hand that feeds you and all that. Reporters are not supposed to be paid by the White House even though they are, of course, under the table. So supposedly, they are to be immune to this sort of thing and should be able to seek out the truth. It is interesting that the cat is out of the bag since no reporter talked to me back then, about this matter, and you can bet, they won't talk to me today, even after googling my story.

And Google is being very nice to me lately, my postings are often on page one there and so this means, people can access it easily.

The news media back then, ran stories about Reagan looking forward to talking to the teacher in space. Big, big PR stuff. I remember it quite clearly. I also remember talking about that with my father that morning. I also remember how the press worked hard to erase that information afterwards, assuring the Americans watching the news that Reagan had absolutely nothing to do with the disaster and then that trained seal actor went to the podium and shed crocodile tears all over his monitor, weeping for them and making a big to-do about how they were now angels and all that. Boo hoo. We were then ordered, collectively, to not think about the morning's plans for the teacher to talk with Reagan.
Myth #7: An unavoidable price for progress

Claims that the disaster was the unavoidable price to be paid for pioneering a new frontier were self-serving rationalizations on the part of those responsible for incompetent engineering management — the disaster should have been avoidable. NASA managers made a bad call for the launch decision, and engineers who had qualms about the O-rings were bullied or bamboozled into acquiescence. The skeptics’ argument that launching with record cold temperatures is valid, but it probably was not argued as persuasively as it might have been, in hindsight. If launched on a warmer day, with gentler high-altitude winds, there’s every reason to suppose the flight would have been successful and the troublesome seal design (which already had the attention of designers) would have been modified at a pace that turned out to have been far too leisurely. The disaster need never have happened if managers and workers had clung to known principles of safely operating on the edge of extreme hazards — nothing was learned by the disaster that hadn’t already been learned, and then forgotten.

Gads. The previous myth #6 claimed there was no pressure then this paragraph admits there was pressure! This is why the stooge reporter had to say, the pressure was from JPL to launch because they only had four (!!!!) more months to go? What?

Engineers didn't have qualms about the O rings, they didn't even have qualms about the cold even though there was ice on the shuttle which concerned them somewhat. It was 100% the air turbulence, especially at 20,000 feet. Period. This lying reporter then claims NASA learned nothing from the disaster.

Hogwash. Unlike reporters or politicians, scientists don't have sudden Alzheimer's symptoms whenever they have to think about disasters! I know from first hand experience, how difficult politicians can be and how difficult it was, trying to raise funds for NASA when America was being bullied by the military/industrial complex and right wingers like Safire, who I debated in public back then, over the Star Wars program with suddenly sucked up most of NASA's potential funding, so Congress brutally penny pinched NASA to death thanks to the huge budget overruns caused by Reagan's wild tax cutting, back then, the Chinese were too poor to soak up all our red ink for us.

This is why the teacher in space publicity was launched. To revive public interest in the shuttle missions which were quite boring up until then.

NASA officials have huge reasons to lie about this disaster. They, like Reagan and his operatives, were complicit in this mess and so, to save themselves and save their paymasters, they covered it all up with a ton of bull. And so here we are, after a second, eerily similar disaster, on the anniversary of the other shuttle blow up, when Bush happily announced we are going to Mars (and killing any research about this home planet of ours that might show global warming!).

There are lies about that mess we won't ever see debunked by the scribes pretending to be reporters. And MSNBC: you know my name, you know where I am. Gads. Feel free to call me. I get not one thin dime from NASA or anyone so I have no reason to shut up. On the other hand, if anyone working for JPL is called to confirm my information, they will be forced to lie. Ah well.

The truth is obvious. Even within the parameters of this "myth debunking" article.
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