Ten Tough Days for NASA

February 4, 2014 1:13 AM

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Ten Tough Days for NASA

As we close-to-NASA folk pause to reflect on yet another anniversary of perhaps the most difficult 10-calendar-day stretch for NASA -- the Apollo 1 fire (Jan. 27, 1967), the Challenger disaster (Jan. 28, 1986), and the Columbia tragedy (Feb. 1, 2003) -- I took some time to reflect on whether we as a nation learned anything from these tragedies. Of course NASA learned. We fixed the technical problems that plagued each of the programs and went on to fly triumphant missions. We brought humans safely back to Earth after living and working on the Moon. We flew a myriad of successful Shuttle missions -- with three remaining orbiters serving as the workhorses that built the International Space Station -- before abruptly ending the signature program (I think) prematurely.

But did we, America, learn and truly understand? As I discussed in my previous Huffington Post blog post, "Never Give Up, Never Surrender," some of us did, while others did not. Understand that these tragedies did not have to happen. But the lessons learned and the resultant technological growth wou...

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