Former Employee Slams NASA For Not Taking Safety Seriously

He claims that there is a "cultural Rot" which leads to poor safety standards.More safety measuresA former NASA employee slammed NASA for not treating the safety of its astronauts better in the wake of last week's near-disaster.James Oberg, an ex-engineer at NASA's Mission Control Center, wrote an IEEE Spectrum op-ed criticizing the "eroding safety culture". He calls for an independent investigation into the agency.Oberg stated in his article that the safety of the system was assumed and not verified. Managers are then led to make careless decisions or miss clues that could lead to disaster.Slow Cultural RotOberg stated that Russia's Nauka module incident is a clear indicator that NASA has a complacency mentality that can lead to disaster.AdvertisementAdvertisementHe said that the NASA team has been through the same cultural rot of taking on safety many times in the past decade, with terrible consequences.He said, "Team members in the year preceding the 1986 Challenger disaster, and I was deep within Mission Control operations at the time, had noticed and began to voice concerns about growing carelessness, and humorous reactions to occasional stupid errors, but without any effect.Calling for InvestigationNASA veteran of 22 years and space journalist, also called for an investigation into safety standards at the agency.[Because] political pressures appear to be driving much the problem, only a serious investigation with political heft and independent oversight can reverse any erosion of safety culture, he stated, calling on President Biden to establish an independent commission to investigate.AdvertisementAdvertisementOberg's persuasive piece is hard to argue with. Oberg's persuasive piece is hard to disagree with. NASA and all other state-sanctioned space agencies should never be too safe. We don't know what the next incident might be.READ MORE: Space Station Incident Demands Independent Investigation [IEEE Spectrum]Russia will investigate whether the Space Station was damaged during the Incident