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Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Looks like the "environmentally friendly" foam was the cause of the (preventable) shuttle disaster after all. This news item states that:
    A suitcase sized chunk of foam that smashed into Columbia's left wing and damaged a critical heat shield is "the most probable cause" of the Columbia space shuttle disaster, an investigation panel said Tuesday.
As I highlighted in an earlier post, here, the EPA, through it's administrative rulemaking, was responsible for pushing the not so "space flight friendly" foam on NASA:
    "EPA received a comment from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) regarding the use of specific plastic foam products for the space shuttle. NASA identified one particular product, BX-250, a foam which is part of the thermal protection system of the Space Shuttle External Tank and which uses CFC-11 as a blowing agent. NASA stated that ``although extensive efforts have been made and continue to be made to replace this material, no viable alternative has been identified.'' NASA requested that EPA revise the proposed rule to provide an exemption for CFC-blown foam products in applications that are associated with space vehicles."

    "...This language is far broader than what EPA concludes is actually necessary based on an evaluation of the information NASA presented."
Environmental laws must reflect human needs, not eco-nut fantasies. There are certainly negative environmental savings from chloroflourocarbon-free foam when the shuttle blows up upon rentry, spreading contaminated parts and burning fuel across the land. Sadly, the lives of these brave astronauts are hardly a concern for the environmental movement.

Sad, preventable tragedy.