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Draft email from Rodney Rocha regarding possible damage to Columbia

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Monday, March 31, 2003

In my humble technical opinion, this is the wrong (and bordering on irresponsible) answer from the SSP and orbiter not to request additional imaging help from any outside source. I must emphasize (again) that severe enough damage (3 or 4 multiple tiles knocked out down to the densification layer) combined with the heating and resulting damage to the underlying structure at the most critical location (viz. MLG Door/wheels/tires/hydraulics or the X1191 spar cap) could present potentially grave hazards. The engineering team will admit it might not achieve definitive high confidence answer even with additional images, but without action to request help clarify the damage visually, we will guarantee it will not.

Can we talk to Frank Benz before Friday's MMT? Remember the NASA safety posters around the site stating "if it's not safe, say so"? Yes, its that serious.

Rodney Rocha
Structural Engineering Division (ES-SED)
- ES Div, Chief Engineer (Space Shuttle DGE)
- Chair, Space Shuttle Loads & Dynamics Panel

Mail Code ES2 Phone 281-483-8889

[Handwritten note]

"Draft Memo
Not sent through email
Discussed with Carlisle Campbell and ES management"

View Acrobat PDF

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