Tuesday, September 09, 2003

New Safety Culture at NASA has Smashing Debut!

Who in the world was was smoking what when the NOAA-N Prime spacecraft (a new weather satellite for NOAA) was DROPPED AND BROKEN Saturday at Lockheed Martin's Sunnyvale plant:

The mishap was caused because 24 bolts were missing from a fixture in the “turn over cart”. Two errors occurred. First, technicians from another satellite program that uses the same type of “turn over cart” removed the 24 bolts from the NOAA cart on September 4 without proper documentation. Second, the NOAA team working today failed to follow the procedure to verify the configuration of the NOAA “turn over cart” since they had used it a few days earlier.

Good God! Now admittedly this happened at a contractor, not at NASA, but it's pretty endemic of the way the space program, civilian, military, manned and unmanned, is toddling along these days. Note how technicians for one satellite had to cannibilize the bolts from the fixture, probably because there wasn't, as usual, enough money to buy enough for both programs.

Click the link and check out the picture. What a flipping mess.

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