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Aerospace panel issues space station safety report
Friday - 2/3/2012, 10:54am EST
"The International Space Station is well managed and we think it's safe," said Retired Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. "But there are some aspects that perhaps aren't fully appreciated."
One such aspect, according to Dyer, is a "loss of mission" situation, in which the crew would have to abandon the space station.
"The odds of that happening are about one in 30 over the full life of the station, between now and 2020," he told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin on Friday. The primary risk would be collision with space junk or micro-meteorites.
"All of us, NASA, the panel and I think the Congress are struggling with the question of 'How safe is safe enough?' Great risk goes hand-in-hand with great reward, so it's always been with explorers," Dyer said. "But we don't yet have a modern answer to that question. Or, at least, we don't have one that sticks."