James Oberg - sometimes NASA critic, sometimes NASA supporter - rips into a poorly prepared reporter... (see the interview in the second half of the video).
I've gotta say - I think this understates what happens when media jumps to *conclusions* when a matter has barely been opened - especially regarding the huge and complex operation of a space program of which the reporter may not have even researched.
Good on Oberg for standing up for the best information available and clarifying what has been said and what hasn't. (grin)
Quick NASA comments - FUI, sabotage...
So...geeezz, I dunno where to start just a few comments on the downer NASA news this week... Firstly, I should say I think it is VERY surprising and disappointing - and I say that as an aerospace enthusiast and a U.S. taxpayer. The astronauts I've met have been nothing short of seriously impressive people with good humor.
FUI - Flying Under the Influence:
This is really disappointing. As far as I know, they I can only assume (and hope) that none of the commanders or pilots were drunk during or immediately prior to space shuttle lift-off. Also, I think there is no information available specifying who was drunk, when, and where or if it was prior to a space shuttle flight, ground simulator flight, reduced gravity flight (Vomit Comet...), etc.
If they went into reduced gravity drunk - they may have had some fun "Hey, look at me - drunk in zero-g!"...but probably haven't yet gotten what they deserved even if they had motion sickness with a hangover in zero-g. If I were looking into this, I think a question worth asking is if they were they board or frustrated with their personal or professional lives?
Note: If memory serves me correct, Russian astronauts had vodka with them in Mir and it was no real secret...I'm sure there's a bit on the International Space Station too...
Sabotage: Who knows!? Maybe the employee of the subcontractor got pissed at work for some odd reason and decided to mess things up. The item is described in reasonable detail here: http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewnews.html?id=1226
I'm sure there are conspiracy theories about why and how this is a part of a bigger plan to take down NASA, or some similar crazy idea. I just think this is an isolated case and I'm glad the hardware was inspected and will be fixed prior to flight. I've met a couple of the astronauts that will be going up in a couple weeks and would like no hitches in their plan if at all possible.
Note: There are always things that don't go according to plan and the flight controllers are swift about assessing and having the issues corrected (and recorded for lessons-learned). And otherwise, they know the folks on board the shuttle/space station and they'll work their tails off to make sure they're doing well. I spoke with a couple folks who worked the last mission and as far as I can tell - nothing short of some impressive and pragmatic engineering and technical assessment in swift fashion - period.