Print 28 comment(s) - last by Oregonian2.. on Jul 27 at 3:13 PM

Shuttle Endeavour  (Source: NASA)
Suspected sabotage adds to the drama surrounding the launch preparations for shuttle Endeavour

NASA today confirmed that at least one space program worker intentionally tried to sabotage a computer which will be flown to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard the shuttle Endeavour.  The employee of an unidentified NASA subcontractor allegedly cut wires inside of a data relay box that will be added to the space station's Destiny laboratory.  

"It was disclosed to us as soon as the event occurred, about a week and a half ago," said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations.  "The damage is very obvious, easy to detect.  It's not a mystery to us," he added.

The data box is used for the "collection of structural performance data on the space station's backbone-like main truss," with the collected data later sent back to Earth.  The damage done wouldn't have posed a risk to the astronauts or ISS, even if it was installed in its current state.

Motive for the contractor's actions remain unknown, as the NASA Inspector General Office continues to investigate the attempted sabotage.  Authorities also declined to identify where the sabotage took place, though NASA confirmed it did not take place in Florida.

"It will be repaired and it will fly on this flight," Gerstenmaier said.

NASA expects to be able to launch shuttle Endeavour on August 7, the previously set launch date.

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By shabby on 7/26/07, Rating: 0
RE: ...
By Jedi2155 on 7/26/2007 11:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps to make a space drama :O. And possibly get people excited enough in so that people will tell congress to fund more NASA programs?

It's all a conspiracy i tell you...

RE: ...
By FrankM on 7/27/2007 2:19:52 AM , Rating: 2
2007: A space drama
Who needs Hal if you got workers doing sabotage.


RE: ...
By athlonxp2200 on 7/27/2007 12:00:23 AM , Rating: 2
Is nasa trying to stir up some drama?

LOL. Almost looks like it.

RE: ...
By quiksilv3r on 7/27/07, Rating: -1
RE: ...
By ilmdba on 7/27/2007 4:01:34 AM , Rating: 3
i went to see atlantis launch last year - absolutely amazing to see in person. i recommend the trip. there won't be too many left to go see.

RE: ...
By quiksilv3r on 7/27/2007 5:31:29 AM , Rating: 2
I meant on tv

RE: ...
By Oregonian2 on 7/27/2007 3:13:14 PM , Rating: 4
If the info wasn't made public they'd just be accused of trying to cover up important information and an investigation would follow to see what else they hushed up -- and obviously be for political purposes.

Can't win I think.

So... "whatever".

Drunken Astronauts
By Ringold on 7/27/2007 4:12:56 AM , Rating: 4
Aww, no mention of the other controversy that broke at about the same time? It's been revealed that astronauts, apparently, have flown dangerously under the influence, despite the warnings of fellow pilots and flight surgeons.

That story really ticked me off. The image of an astronaut has managed to essentially remain fairly pure since the start of the program. It could've dealt with one mad women, but now flying drunk?

If a commercial pilot flies drunk not only will they possibly be fired the FAA would be well within it's right to yank their license. That's precisely what I think should happen to any astronaut that broke the rule. The FAR's are extremely clear:

Section 91.17: Alcohol or drugs.
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft --

(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;

(2) While under the influence of alcohol;

(3) While using any drug that affects the person's faculties in any way contrary to safety; or

(4) While having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.

(b) Except in an emergency, no pilot of a civil aircraft may allow a person who appears to be intoxicated or who demonstrates by manner or physical indications that the individual is under the influence of drugs (except a medical patient under proper care) to be carried in that aircraft.

Notice the catch-all phrase. That includes even a hang-over -- not JUST 8 hours bottle to throttle and low BAC. These guys are carrying on the legacy of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, not the Three Stooges.

RE: Drunken Astronauts
By Ringold on 7/27/2007 4:15:49 AM , Rating: 2
Upon immediate further reflection, I've got no idea if an Orbiter is a "civil aircraft", and if so, under what category it fits or anything else. If so, that'd be the coolest type-rating and set of log-book entries ever. Shouldn't matter, though, it's the principle of the thing.

RE: Drunken Astronauts
By 91TTZ on 7/27/2007 8:37:21 AM , Rating: 2
Coming in 2008!

Watch as Lindsey Lohan and a ragtag group of drunken astronauts installs broken parts on the International Space Station!

Be there!

RE: Drunken Astronauts
By Michael Hoffman on 7/27/2007 12:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Ringold, I am actually including the drunken astronauts report in an International Space Update. ;)

Maybe an accident...
By Micronite on 7/26/2007 10:05:31 PM , Rating: 1
I can't help but think this could be a misunderstanding or some sort of accident. You know... some guy is cleaning something, takes a look, something slips and shears the cables, covers it up, leaves the scene.

Of course, there's the possibility that this guy (or girl) in their own twisted mind thought it would be cool to claim, "I did that!"

International conspiracy theories aside, I can't really think of many reasons someone would want to sabotoge a space shuttle mission.

RE: Maybe an accident...
By feraltoad on 7/26/2007 10:40:32 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've f*cked up all kinds of stuff cleaning with my wire cutters. j/k As to why? Why do people key random people's cars? People are A-Holes, period.

RE: Maybe an accident...
By Soviet Robot on 7/27/2007 1:27:27 AM , Rating: 2
Today I watched some south of the border A**hole slam the door of his crappy car open into the side of a much nicer car, and he didn't have a care in the world. If I witnessed someone do that to my car(it's happened, just never saw it), I'd throw down.

RE: Maybe an accident...
By Vanilla Thunder on 7/27/2007 12:09:07 PM , Rating: 3
some south of the border A**hole slam the door of his crappy car into the side of a much nicer car. If I witnessed someone do that to my car(it's happened, just never saw it), I'd throw down.

Proving that you're not only an ignorant racist, but a tough guy too.


<no subject>
By Scabies on 7/27/2007 12:55:41 AM , Rating: 2
"The damage is very obvious, easy to detect. It's not a mystery to us," he added.

Nothing screams diversion like the words "easy" and "obvious."
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

RE: <no subject>
By Sunrise089 on 7/27/2007 4:04:21 AM , Rating: 2
In other words, because they've found this sabotage, they're LESS likely to look for another????

RE: <no subject>
By geddarkstorm on 7/27/2007 12:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe? They did have those mysterious failures of the russian built computers lately. I'd like to know where this piece of hardware was being built. In the current political climate, where antagonism is apparently being driven by russia lately, I wouldn't be surprised if they did want to eliminate the ISS to break their commitments with Europe and the US over it (while not having to do so overtly, as that would have extreme political ramifications and seriously strain diplomatic relationships if they just up and pulled out while everything was going fine).

The only problem with conspiracy theories, is that people usually are not that smart and/or are too lazy to actually do such things. It really does sound like an isolated case, but considering all the other troubles NASA and the ISS has been having lately, they should do some serious checks of personnel. Afterall, they did have a shooting, a homicidal mental breakdown, these drinking reports, and now all this in such a short span of time.

By xphile on 7/27/2007 12:14:22 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, if I was trying to achieve some form of sabotage that I could get away with and then secretly brag about, I'd do it against the most tested and well thought out systems processes in the world too! What a freaking retard :-)

The only thing this reinforces to me is that NASA need a long hard look at their personel screening processes in all their facilities.

At this rate we'll have real crazy stuff happening like psychopaths in space driving space shuttles wearing disposable diapers... oh yeah right - whoops :-)

RE: Sabotage?
By mindless1 on 7/27/2007 2:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
While I suppose it could be the kiddie-mischievous-hacker mentality that caused it, there seems another plausible explanation. The worker was disgruntled (or paid off by a competitor) and looking to do harm to the subcontractor, not directly to NASA or the shuttle program.

It does seem unlikely any reasonable person would think this would go undetected, but there are plenty of people with mental instability, drug or alcohol abuse, etc. So far we only see the effect, not the cause.

How Long?
By Mitch101 on 7/27/2007 10:02:13 AM , Rating: 2
How long has this guy been subcontracting to NASA?
What about his co-workers? Usually there is more than one.


But what ticks me off is there are a lot of people who dont have a job and who would kill for something like this opportunity and you still have a-holes who think its cool to sabotage crap like this and collect a paycheck. He better not get a US court slap on the wrist either.

RE: How Long?
By geddarkstorm on 7/27/2007 12:25:21 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously : (. But from the sounds of it, all they'll likely do is take his cookies away and send him to his room. I see nothing about legal action or even serious investigation mentioned in that article.

By pauldovi on 7/27/2007 12:06:02 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe the computer was cheating on him with another worker?

RE: Drama....
By Korr on 7/27/2007 2:45:50 AM , Rating: 1
Very poor attempt at humour.

By MeTaedet on 7/27/2007 4:06:55 AM , Rating: 2
NASA is embracing the sensationalist ideals of soap opera drama more than the likes of Passions could ever dream.

Foreign Government...
By paydirt on 7/27/2007 8:26:27 AM , Rating: 2
...that was my first thought. Hurt the data collection of the program and you hinder the program.

By techfuzz on 7/27/2007 9:59:17 AM , Rating: 2
If you've been reading DT for more than a week, you'll know that they sometimes take certain liberties with their picture selection. Engadget sometimes takes similar liberties with their pictures too and it was just too good not to pass around.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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