Yes there is a very big risk, however what caused the disintegration of the shuttle wasn't one of those things that may or just happens in space flight. There are many cameras pointed at the shuttle during liftoff, and there is evidence that NASA knew the tiles were gone or damaged. There are safety oversights that still occur even since the Challenger did its impression of a bottle rocket.Would you go out in a company car that your employer knew the brakes were inoperable? If your employer knew, and didn't tell you, well some liability rests of their shoulders.Losing oxygen because of a random seal failure is different from NASA ignoring the problems with the tiles. Those tiles are the only thing protecting the shuttle from the heat of re-entry. They are extremely fragile. As of right now, it is the only thing we have to combat re-entry heating, which means they need to be rigorously inspected and protected until liftoff. Unfortunately they really cannot be repaired in space. But at least let the astronauts know they're going to a BBQ.
Do you want to guess how much the 3 astronauts who died in the Apollo fire in 1968? Bet it wasn't anything like this. Yes, this type of work has very real risks. That's why those who participate might consider some insurance. Or go into another line of work.
You can blame this one on the tree huggers. Tile problems weren't an issue when they were allowed to use an adhesive that worked but since it was presumed that it created a hole in the ozone NASA was forced to use an earth friendly adhesive. Are you green weenies happy now?
The Apollo 1 deserved something. Yet another example of rushed building, and a safety oversight that killed three people before they could even get off the ground.Say the same thing about any member of the military that is killed in the line of duty and people call for your head on a platter. They know what they are getting into, too.
I agree 4:04. They know exactly what they are getting into.
Folks, It may come as a big surprise to some, but EVERY space mission has flown with various known problems. Problems are assessed and alternative solutions are debated before launch and decisions are made. Of course, you can only discuss KNOWN problems - the unknown are a little harder to evaluate. The fact remains that these missions are potentially dangerous and the folks involved all know it. Risk assessment is not foolproof. But it's what you do when pushing the envelope of engineering and science. When things go wrong, the public jumps in with all kinds of pseudo-scientific assessments and judgments. No one is forced into the space program. Those involved know the risks and they accept it. Big monetary payouts are due to ambulance chasers looking to line their own pockets.
Crew members...obviously the least expensive items on the shuttle.
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