SPACE CENTER, Houston — NASA today released details on hundreds of parts regarded as vital to the safe operation of the space shuttle, and an engineer described the space agency's elaborate procedure to "identify where a fail-safe design requirement was not met."
Marion Merrell of the Johnson Space Center office of Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance said the review process "started early in the design phase and has been continuously updated, reviewed and reevaluated to date."
Failure of these critical items would cause "loss of mission, vehicle and crew."
Among the documents released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration are several hundred pages dealing with the solid rocket boosters. Seals on the right booster rocket are suspected of failing and contributing to the Jan. 28 destruction of Challenger and the death of its seven crew members.
The material covered potential failures ranging from lightning igniting the booster rocket's solid fuel while it was on the launch pad--which would cause it to explode--to concerns about the rubber-like O-ring seals in the booster rockets.