Written by Andrew J. Horne
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Topics: Space, NASA

Thursday, 10 June 2004

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fl. --NASA will continue flying crews to the International Space Station despite more than 800 known safety violations, some of which could destroy the outpost or kill a crew.

"There are over five-hundred fatal flaws in the design of the shuttle alone. We're just going to fix ten or so of them every time one blows up so we don't look like complete morons," said Arthur Zygielbaum, a member of NASA's independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, "For instance, there's this one that can cause the wing to fall off if someone...ha ha, you almost got me, we're saving that one."

In a relentless drive to finish building the $100 billion station on time, NASA managers often accepted extra risk to avoid cost increases, prevent assembly delays and keep the outpost staffed, records show.

"The public images and videos often fail to show the frequent use of scotch tape to repair shuttle and space station windows as well as our space suits," said astronaut Brian O'Conner, "For Christ's sake with that kind of budget they can at least use duck tape, I'll pay for it you cheap bastards." During the interview, part of O'Conner's helmet fell apart. "What the [expletive deleted], is this Elmer's rubber cement?" he commented.

Many blame the station's safety problems on the Russians, whose portion of the station was primarily constructed from Papier Mache and Reynolds plastic wrap. "To be honest with you, I really think the Russians picked the wrong corporate sponsor, [Reynolds], what I mean is that that damn wrap let my ham sandwich go bad and those astronauts probably have families or something," said Ron Goldsmith, NASA's mission control commander.

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