An editorial in the Houston Chronicle itemizes the list of problems that NASA has suffered so far this year. And while NASA might not be having an annus horribilis this year, it has suffered its share of setbacks, embarrassments, and tragedies, from allegations of intoxicated astronauts to sabotaged computers. The Chronicle, though, casts its net a little too far by including this odd item: “An explosion at a rocket motor test sight [sic] near Edwards Air Force Base in California killed two persons and critically injured four others.” Besides misspelling “site”, the editorial appears to be referring to the Scaled Composites explosion last month at Mojave Airport (which actually killed three and injured three); NASA was not involved in that project at all, of course. The editorial also notes the murder-suicide at JSC earlier this year, and tacks on this blow: “How many other NASA employees are armed and dangerous in the workplace?” Ick.
The Chronicle solicits comment from Rep. Nick Lampson (D-TX), whose district includes JSC and who serves on the House Science and Technology Committee. Lampson is supportive of the agency, but notes: “When NASA does face any internal issues, Congress expects a full, thorough review and accounting of any possible errors and mistakes.” Hopefully any such accounting will be a bit more thorough than that performed by the Chronicle’s editorial writers and copy editors.