Shuttle Humor, Risk Estimation

Mike Rosing eresrch at
Mon Feb 3 18:40:57 PST 2003

On Mon, 3 Feb 2003, Harmon Seaver wrote:

>   Yeah, but most pilots, if they suspected an even semi-serious breach of their
> craft's integrity, *AND* had the ability to fairly safely send someone outside
> to have a looksee, wouldn't hesitate a moment before doing so. They've been
> delayed by weather in landing far longer than that would take.

I heard this afternoon on NPR that NASA reported one of the engines was on
full blast attempting to correct for high drag on the left side.  Add this
to the high wheel temp before sensor loss - the landing gear was down.
The Columbia had just gotten the new "glass cockpit", all new computers.
I bet there was a bug in the code someplace that lowered the landing gear
and didn't report it via normal channels.  On an airplane lowering your
landing gear early isn't that big a deal.  But at mach 18 it's pretty

No way to inspect for that when your instruments don't report what your
equipment is doing.  I bet it's a combination of minor problems, with a
bit in a rom going bad maybe.  As the Major said, chalk one up for Allah.

Patience, persistence, truth,
Dr. mike

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