Did NASA Waive Safety?

Long before the shuttle Columbia was destroyed on re-entry last month, NASA scientists had considered literally hundreds of problems that might threaten the craft's safety--and decided to launch it anyway. Columbia had accumulated a thick sheaf of what in the rocket business are called safety waivers--problems that NASA had noted but decided posed too small a risk to bother with. "That's a pretty deep stack; it really is," a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board told TIME. "A lot of these [waivers] are legitimate--every launch is going to have them--but others are things you've learned to live with." The board...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!