In the fraught atmosphere that wracked NASA and the spacefaring world after the Columbia accident in 2003, perhaps the sharpest condemnation stemmed from an off-the-cuff remark by the U.S. space agency's space shuttle program manager. Ron Dittemore said he did not seek imagery from classified reconnaissance satellites that might have revealed the extent of the launch-debris damage to the orbiter's left wing because nothing could have been done anyway. Sean O'Keefe, then the ...


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