Saturday, June 20, 2009

Shuttle Sabotage? NASA Investigating

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. - All is quiet on L...Image via Wikipedia

Bitter employees, willing to do whatever it takes to send their message of anger and hate abound in many offices these days – but who would have ever thought that rocket scientists – the guys that put a man on the moon – could stoop to such levels?

No one knows if a rocket scientist, or anyone else working for the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) in the States is to blame for the two delays of the Space Shuttle Endeavour this month – but they are investigating the possibility, in addition to the technical faults.

With NASA’s finalization of the final Shuttle missions, as the aging fleet of spacecraft is being retired in 2010, fear, anger and frustration are to be expected. The final Space Shuttle mission is currently set for May 25, 2010.

Almost everyone fears change – that’s just a normal part of being human. And big changes are coming to an organization which has been known for its unwavering, highly structured mentality.

As the fleet of Space Shuttles is retired, by its own estimates, NASA will be shedding between 3,000 to 4,000 jobs at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. In this economy, even a handful of job losses could easily push even a model employee over the brink.

It isn’t uncommon for good employees to go sour during periods of transition in a company or organization. We’ve all heard about the story about the person caught on the security camera, urinating in the coffee maker at the office because he didn’t get his promotion. But there are many other stories of corruption within the workplace, some far more reaching.

Like the vice-president of a telecommunications company that leaked a change in the company’s direction, causing the stock price to tumble so quickly, the company never recovered, and it had to file for bankruptcy protection.

Sabotage at NASA is rare, but has happened in the past. In 2007, a subcontractor intentionally cut wires on a computer box on a Space Shuttle Endeavour mission, but the fault was found and corrected without affecting the flight.

NASA will begin laying off employees after the final Shuttle mission. But with each delayed launch, that final mission gets extended. This leaves the space agency open to possible internal attacks, as those concerned for their financial well-being do what they feel is necessary, to keep a pay cheque coming in.

NASA top-brass have been very vocal over rumours about sabotage by their own staff. Space Shuttle Deputy Program Manager LeRoy Cain said they trust their own people and do not think anyone on any Shuttle mission would do anything which would hamper the flight of the space craft, during his briefing after the second delay of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Still, the cause of the hydrogen fuel leaks which have grounded the Space Shuttle Endeavour remains a mystery, and will keep the Shuttle on the ground at least until July 11, as NASA investigates the cause.

NASA expects to find a technical fault, but as they edge ever closer to retiring the Shuttle program, moving to the new Orion space craft which is still in the testing stages, and handing out pink-slips to thousands of employees, everything – and one – are suspect.
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