Former Engineer gives cryptic warning

by Chris Bergin

A former NASA engineer has said NASA should consider postponing Wednesday’s scheduled launch of the space shuttle Discovery.

NASA said Tuesday night it had discovered, and fixed, a problem as the shuttle sat on the launch pad – but despite this Tom Noyes has said he isn’t happy with the explanation – although failed to give absolute reasons for his concerns.

Noyes spent about eight years at mission control training astronauts how to operate the space shuttle software. He saw TV reports noting a window shield had fallen off a Flight Deck window, and struck the left OMS Pod Engine Thermal Protection System (TPS).

“The cover fell off and hit this orbital manoeuvring system,” said Noyes to Local Charlotte News. “This is the engine it uses after she gets into space..”

NASA said it had replaced the damaged tiles and that Discovery was ready for lift-off – which was scheduled for 3:51 pm EDT Wednesday.

He said he’s confident in the space agency’s decision to move forward – but, he says, there is a larger issue to consider – one that may warrant delaying the launch.

“There are things that happen to the Orbiter that it’s not designed for so, is this just one more thing that is happening that they’re not catching, is this a sign of some other larger problems?” Noyes said.

The former NASA engineer said it’s important for America to return to space.

“Kids dream about being an astronaut,” Noyes said. “We need to keep that dream alive and not stop at the shuttle–we need to put together the next generation of launch vehicles.”

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