MSNBC (JimO) Scoops more Inside-NASA Shuttle Documents
Jack O'Neil wrote:
STS-114 is not a first msision. It is just a continuation of the shuttle
programme. After an orbiter had undergone a major maintenance period that
involved big changes (such as new Block engines etc) did they reduce crew size
? no. They crewed it according to the needs of a mission.
I thought the CAIB report pointed out that the shuttle should not be
thought of as an "operational vehicle". Rather, it continues to be a
developmental test platform. NASA continues to refine, modify, upgrade
a variety of shuttle systems, in response to failures, degradations,
obsolescence, need to increase safety margins and reliability, etc.
Since it is clearly not "operational", would it not be prudent to
minimize risk to life at least in the first return to flight launch?
Personally, I can see good arguments for both cases and I remain undecided.
The way I see it, NASA has sent up a trial balloon. They've "dipped
their toes into the deep end" offering statements to the effect that
two/three others will be added to the crew, while "playing in the
shallow end" taking the STS-114 official crew photo with only the four
As is probably clear by now, I don't see good arguments for packing
the crew. I'd say that 5 is the most that would be prudent.
....which brings an interesting point regarding all those crews of 5
that NASA has launched. It must have a very interesting psychological
aspect for the one person stuck downstairs all by themself. Entry and
especially launch must be stressful enough when you have other people
to look at. Going it alone staring at a wall must have an extra level
of eerieness to it.