NASA Learned Its Lesson With Endeavour

Caution, elaborate tools mark dramatic shift from Columbia era
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2007 10:53 AM CDT

(Newser) – Endeavour faced the same problem that the ill-fated Columbia did, but NASA officials handled the two missions in dramatically different ways, marking a radical cultural shift at the space agency. Columbia’s shuttle suffered more damage from a flying piece of foam, but NASA still spent days using elaborate equipment to study the impact of Endeavour’s gouge.

“The comparison is night and day,” said one expert who served on Columbia’s review board. Management changes, the development of new tools, and a newfound respect for dissenting opinions have begun to repair the “broken safety culture” the board said hobbled NASA for years and helped doom Columbia.