NASA Will Not Fly Shuttle Again Until Debris Problem Understood

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Editor's note:This is an edited selection of comments made at the Post-MMT press briefing and does not represent the totality of what was said.

Shuttle Program Manager Bill Parsons, speaking at a post-MMT press briefing this afternoon said: "We had a debris event on the PAL ramp along the LOX field line - below the point where the LH2 ramp begins. Our expectation is that we would not have an unexpected debris event. The PAL ramp is one area we should have reviewed.

We knew we would have to remove the PAL ramp. We did not have enough data to be safe and remove it. We had very few problems with it so we decided that it was safe to fly it as is.

Clearly, with the event we had, we were wrong. We did not contact the orbiter at all. But it does give us pause to go back and look at what it is. Until it is closed we will not fly again. Might as well let that out now. Until we are ready we will not fly again.

I do not know when that will be. This is a test flight. Obviously we have more work to do."

This is a test flight. It did not perform as well as we would have liked it to. I cannot say what the impact is until we find out what happened. Obviously we cannot fly with PAL ramps coming off the way that this one did. We need to go off and fix it."


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