Is Foam the Real Smoking Gun in Shuttle Disaster?

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On February 1, the Columbia Space Shuttle disintegrated as it was re-entering Earth-s atmosphere. A broken piece of foam insulation is being called the -smoking gun,- but it-s not the last word in the disaster. When the Challenger blew up during its 1986 take-off, investigators pointed to faulty seals on the shuttle's O-rings. In each case, the cause has been attributed to mechanical problems that had previously been discounted by safety engineers. Despite the exacting requirements of space travel, with astronauts- lives at stake, has NASA become complacent? Are Congress and a succession of presidents also to blame? We talk about what went wrong and whether it can be fixed with journalists and authors who have followed the shuttle programs, a former NASA scientist and a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
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British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on Iraq evidence

President Bush's State of the Union address

Buncombe's article

New York Times article on split

Challenger disaster

Columbia disaster

International Space Station



Warren Olney