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Apollo 13 when scientists and engineers brainstorm solutions.
There's a classic scene in the movie Apollo 13 when scientists and engineers brainstorm solutions to "scrub" the spacecraft's air to remove toxic levels of carbon dioxide. All they've got to work with is what the imperiled astronauts have on board their capsule. They devise a clever solution using what the astronauts have available, and save their lives.
It's a fitting analogy, I think, to the challenge faced by the commissioners for the President's Commission on Implementation of U.S. Space exploration Policy, a.k.a. the Aldridge report. How do you fundamentally change NASA to make it both safer and more willing to take risks? To re-energize the dream of human spaceflight? To stop battling free enterprise and embrace it? To get humans back to the Moon, and then on to Mars?
"You've got these resources at your disposal, now fix NASA."
Astronaut Mike Fincke and cosmonaut Gennady Padalka were forced to cut their spacewalk short on Thursday because of a leak in Fincke's primary oxygen bottle. The leak was discovered just minutes after the spacewalkers departed the station, and controllers on the ground hurried the two men back inside. Total spacewalking time: 14 minutes, 22 seconds. The goal of the spacewalk was to replace a Remote Power Controller Module (RPCM) which has a faulty circuit breaker for one of the station's gyroscopes. The repair could be attempted again as early as June 29.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced a series of changes to the agency to better prepare it to fulfill President Bush's new vision for human space exploration; to "make it leaner and more focused on its goals." NASA will merge seven existing enterprises into four mission directorates, to create clearer lines of communication and authority: Exploration Systems, Space Operations, Aeronautics Research, and the Science Directorate. Further changes are on the way.
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