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Freeper Breaks Foam Problem Story at FR First!!!
Freerepublic ^ | 4/1/03 | Freepers

Posted on 02/04/2003 9:32:29 PM PST by Jael

Freeper Enlightiator broke the foam story here on Freerepublic many long hous before the media ever touched it. Please read his gracious post regarding his scoop.

Also hat's off to leadpenny for the original Columbia observation thread.

In Memory of The COlumbia

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#368: Astronauts doomed from the start  ^
To: Jael; Prov1322; Lancey Howard; McGruff; kattracks

All the credit goes to the guy who found out first!!! Enlightiator!!! I just did a few more google searches and got a tad more information. The original link at the NASA site no longer works. (The one that documents the problems with the foam breaking off and hitting the tiles.)

Thanks for the credit Jael, that was admirable on your part to take the time to link to my original post, but you did the most thorough job. Giving credit for "first source" isn't something the mass media often does, especially when they get their story ideas from sites like FreeRepublic!

I consider the Greg Katnik NASA article finding a group effort, starting with Prov1322's initial post Very close-up, slo-mo of the Columbia launch debris. which caught my attention and started my initial research (flash video no longer up unfortunately), through the far more excellent detailed posts you have made in this thread. [By the way, I have discovered that the reason you couldn't reach my link to NASA engineer Greg Katnick's article "Working on a Tile Damage Mystery (in which significant tile damage due to external tank insulation debris was found on Columbia's flight STS-87 in late 1997) was because I accidently linked to his bio instead of the article, which you fortunately managed to find again yourself and post in this thread. Interestingly, I first found the alternate link you posted in this thread,, but searched a little more to find the "official" nasa link. We must both use Google.]

So, WE Freepers broke this story about Katnick's NASA article first, on 2/1/2003 on Freerepublic at

As best as I can tell, this did not make the major news until the following two articles:

* Orlando Sentinel's Bob Shaw and Michael Cabbage wrote the article Foam chunks a problem since 1981. This was posted at on Monday, 2/3/2003, however the same article with the title Fuel-tank insulation capable of causing `incredible damage' is at, a PA newspaper, with the post date 2/2/2003.

* John Kelly's 2/3/2003 Florida Today article NASA's debris experts have been working on foam issue for years . This was posted at Freerepublic by McGruff at

Since that time, a Google news search shows Katnik's name all over the place, this story is really spreading. On 2/4/2003, The NY Times James Glanz and Edward Wong's article " '97 Report Warned of Foam Damaging Tiles-Absence of Freon Led to Detachment of Foam" also fell in line to make Greg Katnik a bit famous, as kattracks posted a link to at

But remember, we posted it here at FreeRepublic first!.

In my original post, I noted that Katnick had written an article. It was on a NASA educational site for students, and its obvious its the same source the big guys used -did they get it from FreeRepublic, or did they do their own search?; The news guys turned it into a "report," and the Orlando Sentinel provided this clarification just yesterday, 1/4/2003:

NASA worker: '97 damage report was 'embellished' by writer, By Anthony Colarossi, Sentinel Staff Writer. Posted February 4, 2003

The NASA engineer credited with writing a sharply critical 1997 report about damage to heat-resistant tiles on the space shuttle Columbia said Monday that the report had actually been ghostwritten by another NASA writer.

But Greg Katnik, a shuttle engineer who led the team that inspected the Columbia in December 1997, stood by the accuracy of the report. The report said more than 300 of the shuttle's fragile tiles had been damaged by foam insulation that fell off its external fuel tank during liftoff from Kennedy Space Center.

The report, which summarized a formal 76-page inspection analysis that Katnik had submitted to NASA, also said that more than 100 of Columbia's tiles had to be replaced and called the damage to the shuttle "significant."

But Katnik, a 20-year employee of Kennedy Space Center, said his formal analysis had been summarized and "embellished" by a NASA writer for NASA Quest, an agency-run Web site aimed at schoolchildren.

"I don't write that way either for kids or adults," he said. "I think he [the writer] was trying to make it dramatic for the kids.

"It wasn't meant to sound that dire," he added.

Katnik pointed to passages on the Web site describing a "massive" loss of insulating foam from the external fuel tank.

He said the NASA ghostwriter had accurately summarized the facts in his report -- which was not filed until February 1998 -- but had made the language more conversational. For example, his conclusion that the number of damaged tiles was "out of family" was changed to read, "the extent of the damage at the conclusion of this mission was not 'normal.' "

He said the NASA writer had turned his customarily "dry" technical language into something "that is more or less a detective story." It was intended to be an example of "how engineering is used to detect and fix a problem," he said.

The report was first cited in a story in Monday's Orlando Sentinel. The newspaper's attempts to reach him for comment Sunday had been unsuccessful.

On Monday, after receiving numerous calls from reporters, Katnik was given clearance by his NASA supervisors to answer questions.

Anthony Colarossi can be reached at or 407-420-6218

368 posted on 02/04/2003 10:35 PM CST by Enlightiator (Still researching....)

TOPICS: Announcements; Culture/Society; Free Republic; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: columbia; foam; frscoop; michaeldobbs; sts107
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To: Lancey Howard; Ken H
Hmm, interesting.

I did hear that NASA has asked the lab who did some foam testing a while back not to release the results.

21 posted on 02/05/2003 12:11:16 AM PST by Jael
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To: davisfh
I agree. They will focus on the tile issue and mention it was foam that damaged it, but I doubt we will ever see complete coverage of the whole issue.

22 posted on 02/05/2003 12:13:28 AM PST by Jael
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To: unspun

I think that there was ice and foam. ;-)

I think NASA has already said they could tell it was the foam. It came from the left joint where the fuel tank is joined to the Shuttle.

23 posted on 02/05/2003 12:14:47 AM PST by Jael
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To: Chad Fairbanks
Hi there. I don't really have a ping list per se. But I did clip some names from a few of the other threads regarding the Shuttle to ping to this. I didn't keep it, so unless we cross paths again, you'll probably never hear from me. :-)

I'm Jael. Homeschool mom of a great 11 year old here in the Deep South. :-)
24 posted on 02/05/2003 12:17:07 AM PST by Jael
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To: Jael
25 posted on 02/05/2003 12:18:29 AM PST by TLBSHOW (God Speed as Angels trending upward dare to fly Tribute to the Risk Takers)
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To: Black Agnes
Did you catch the reply during the news conference this morning/afternoon about their installing more 'environmentally friendly' foam due to EPA regulations or some such?

Man, if somebody is responsible for such a decision without properly testing the foam first, he better not cross my path, or else I just might kick his @$$!

26 posted on 02/05/2003 12:19:25 AM PST by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (February 14, 2003, a.k.a. "Black Friday")
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there was a guy on another site that was talking about it the day of the launch, and for some reason everyone was trashing him. I'm not sure where he first got the info though.
27 posted on 02/05/2003 12:26:15 AM PST by KneelBeforeZod (Deus Lo Volt!)
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To: Lancey Howard
The memory of our astronauts and the integrity of the space program demand that no stone can be left unturned.

Demand all you want. The only ones that will know the truth are Freepers and a few others. The public will be fed a crock of Clintons and they'll buy it. Just like so many other lies about other disasters. You think the EPA will take any heat for this? Do you think any enviromentalists will have a finger pointed at them? Watch how a lie is fabricated and put forward as a fact. It's a learning process and as much as it makes you sick you'll expect it because that is the way things work. I didn't write the book but I've learned from it.
28 posted on 02/05/2003 12:39:34 AM PST by jwh_Denver
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To: Jael
The woodpeckers caused it.
29 posted on 02/05/2003 1:22:12 AM PST by philman_36
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To: Chad Fairbanks
30 posted on 02/05/2003 1:29:27 AM PST by dasboot
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To: Jael
Sorry Chad.....PING ME!
31 posted on 02/05/2003 1:30:16 AM PST by dasboot
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To: Jael; All
I have a little about the demonization of Freon gas here:

Scams, Scalawags, and an all-too-gullible Public...famous frauds sold to America

32 posted on 02/05/2003 1:46:47 AM PST by backhoe (The 1990's will be remembered as "The Decade of Fraud(s)..." ( Clintons, Dot-Bombs, Oslo... ))
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To: backhoe
33 posted on 02/05/2003 1:47:43 AM PST by SeeRushToldU_So ( Something witty, etc, etc....)
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To: Jael
I keep my screen on FreeRepublic all day. This is the best place to read it first !
34 posted on 02/05/2003 5:35:10 AM PST by kassie (God Bless and Protect Our Military)
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To: Jael
Just checking - I'm on too many ping lists as it is, so I like to nip stuff in the bud ;0)
35 posted on 02/05/2003 7:19:17 AM PST by Chad Fairbanks ('I WISH, at some point, that you would address those damned armadillos in your trousers." - JustShe)
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To: Jael; fooman
Has anyone seen liftoff video from the flight two flights prior to STS-107? Where there was another event where material hit the orbiter?

I'm hearing things......

36 posted on 02/05/2003 7:20:38 AM PST by isthisnickcool
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To: isthisnickcool
I am not aware of another event, but if there is one do tell.
37 posted on 02/05/2003 7:24:45 AM PST by fooman (PC Kills!)
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To: fooman
I have heard this A.M. that STS-105 came back with obvious damage that may have been caused by the "foam/ice" or something else and that people were calling for grounding the orbiters.

I cannot find any video but there are some photos here. It's hard to compare the "before and after" flight images. The orbiter looks very "pock marked" to me but it could be photographic variables. Note that in some of the photos they are making videos of the orbiter so I'm sure NASA has detailed data on this and other missions.

Some people seem to think that Ron Dittmore's days are numbered and that a lot of heads are going to roll as more facts come out.

Houston, we've got a problem........

38 posted on 02/05/2003 8:31:03 AM PST by isthisnickcool
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To: isthisnickcool
Thanks for the info. Its these kind of contribution that make this place great.
39 posted on 02/05/2003 8:39:45 AM PST by fooman (PC Kills!)
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To: Lancey Howard
Typically, the EPA will force a MANUFACTURER to change formulations. I think that NASA simply ordered the stuff from manufacturer XYZ who was under EPA scrutiny and had to change the formula.

The fact that the manufacturer advised NASA of the difficulty doesn't change anything--NASA cannot or would not appeal for an exception to EPA "thought" on the matter.
40 posted on 02/05/2003 9:45:36 AM PST by ninenot
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