I think it is time for the presidential investigating commission to conclude its "witch hunt" as to who is at fault in the space shuttle disaster and let the National Aeronautics and Space Administration get on with the business of getting well.
I do believe that the people who failed to pass pertinent information up the ladder or who overruled their technical staffs have learned from the experience, and are the least likely of anyone to repeat. I really think they are more valuable people because of their experience.
NASA is prepared to spend up to $200 million to recover that right solid fuel booster rocket--in order to prove whether it, in fact, was the cause of the accident. I submit that the money can be better spent elsewhere, as--no matter what they find--they are going to change that design and fix the problem of the O-rings.
So, the problem will be fixed whether they positively identify the seals as the problem or not. Also, they have identified about 900 other Criticality 1 areas in the shuttle, and surely will fix all of them before another launch. Let's save what is left of the $200 million!
The recovery of human remains is a different matter. NASA really needs to know what those brave people died of in order to provide protection in the future. Were they killed by the explosion, by gasses from the fire, from the fire itself, from the impact when they hit the water at several hundred miles per hour, or were they drowned? This information could quite possibly be of benefit to future astronauts. I do feel for the families of the astronauts, but I think such evaluation is necessary.
L. EARL JONES