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Griffin: NASA leaders to make shuttle launch decision
Posted: Tue, Apr 19, 2005, 7:12 AM ET (1112 GMT)
Michael Griffin (JHUAPL) New NASA administrator Michael Griffin said Monday he and top shuttle managers will make the final decision regarding when to launch the shuttle even if an independent board reviewing shuttle preparations has not signed off on the launch. Griffin, in his first press conference since being confirmed as NASA administrator last week, said that if shuttle managers concluded that they were ready for launch, he would recommending going ahead with the mission. An independent panel reviewing NASA's implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's return-to-flight recommendations has not completed its review, which has raised questions about a potential delay to the May 15th launch of STS-114. However, Griffin said that he would be willing to go ahead with the launch even if the panel had not completed its assessment. In particular, he expressed skepticism that on-orbit tile repair could be effective. Griffin also said that immediately after the STS-114 mission he will ask for a review of the 2004 decision to cancel the final shuttle servicing mission to Hubble.
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