A few excerpts from the website listed above:
For all this effort the Space Shuttle still has a predicted failure disaster of one in 426 flights.
Hydrogen leaks, damaged wiring, dented fuel line, questionable welding, paperwork errors, and a transitioning workforce are just some of the grave occurring indications that the aging Space Shuttle flight system is now prime for another catastrophic failure.
August 25, 2002
Office of the President of the United States
Mr. George W. Bush
Subject: Executive Order for a Moratorium on Space Shuttle Flight
I am a recently retired NASA aerospace engineer and it is my duty to inform you that our space shuttle astronauts are in eminent danger. Your intervention is required to prevent another catastrophic space shuttle accident. NASA management and the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel have failed to respond to the growing warning signs of another shuttle accident. Since 1999 the launch system has experienced the following potential disastrous occurrences:
July 1999 - Space Shuttle Columbia delayed by hydrogen leak.
December 1999 - Space Shuttle Discovery was grounded with damaged wiring, contaminated engine, dented fuel line, and paper work errors.
January 2000 - Space Shuttle Endeavor is delayed because of wiring and computer failures.
March 2000 - Space Shuttle Atlantis main engine must be replaced because of paperwork errors.
August 2000 - Inspection of Space Shuttle Columbia reveals 3,500 defects in wiring. Wiring defects plague entire fleet.
October 2000 - The 100th flight of the space shuttle was delayed because of a misplaced safety pin and concerns with the external tank.
April 2001 - NASA failed to keep adequate watch on safety operations of a major contractor.
July 2002 - The inspector general reports that space shuttle safety program not properly managed.
April 2002 - Hydrogen leak forces scrub of the Atlantis flight.
August 2002 - Shuttle launch system grounded after fuel line cracks are discovered in all the fleet!
Mr. President, as you are painfully aware NASA management has been lacking for a number of years. Unfortunately, your new NASA Administrator has failed to recognize the eminent space shuttle danger and has accepted the consul of the pre-existing NASA shuttle management. These managers still pursue a management philosophy that has stagnated the safety upgrades efforts and perpetuates the staggering launch costs.
The space shuttle or any space transportation vehicle without crew escape modules will never be safe to transport humans. To incorporate crew escape modules in the space shuttle requires that the piloting function be removed from the vehicle. Unfortunately, the background of the shuttle management is that of former flight controllers and astronauts. They have been trained to never trust automated flight control systems. Therefore, they are adamantly opposed to automation of the space shuttle. Efforts by NASA engineers and contractors to automate the shuttles are met with stern rebukes and reprimands in some cases.
Mr. President, to prevent another shuttle disaster it is requested that an Executive Order be issued that places a moratorium on space shuttle operations. This moratorium must limit shuttle missions to flight crews that do not exceed four members. The moratorium must remain in effect until crew escape modules can be incorporated.
This moratorium will serve as a catalyst to kick-start the resisting NASA management into action. The lives of our astronauts and the future of our space program must not be ignored. The warning from the Thiokol engineer was ignored and the Challenger exploded. The terrorist training warning from FBI agents was ignored and we had the 9-11 disaster. When the next shuttle explodes...and Murphy’s Law says it will, we can exclaim with pride a loud "YES!" as the crew escape module carries our astronauts to safety... or if this moratorium is ignored...we can watch in horror and shame as the astronauts face certain death.
Don A. Nelson
Retired NASA Aerospace Engineer
Reply from the President's OSTP: "I do not think that it is appropriate for the President to issue a moratorium on Space Shuttle launches at this time" Dec. 4 2002.
NASA's response to an individual's request to install crew escape modules in Space Shuttles:
The current Space Shuttle is safe for human operations. Over the years the Space Shuttle Program has initiated studies for enhancing crew escape options. These studies have always shown that modifying the orbiters to include a crew escape module would provide an increase in the probability of crew survival in the event of a catastrophic event. However, such a design would decrease available crew volume and adversely impact onorbit operational capabilities..................In summary, all previous studies of Space Shuttle crew escape have concluded that the addition of a crew escape module will not lead to an appreciable increase in overall crew safety. Again, it is due to the your values and commitment to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that makes space transportation not just a dream but also a reality. Your interest in NASA and the Space Shuttle is greatly appreciated.
[Edited 2003-02-03 08:07:35]
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.