"Damage To Re-entry Tiles Is Not A Flight Safety Issue"
"AEDC Performs Shuttle Materials Test for NASA/Lockheed Martin", NEWS RELEASE, United States Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command, Office of Public Affairs, Arnold Engineering Development Center, Writer: Danette Duncan Date: March 19, 1999, Release # 99-041.
"ARNOLD AFB, Tenn.Arnold Engineering Development Center is assisting the National Aeronautics Space Administration with improvements in existing Space Shuttle materials.
"According to NASA, during several previous Space Shuttle flights, including the shuttle launched Nov. 29, 1998, the shuttle external tank experienced a significant loss of foam from the intertank. The material lost caused damage to the thermal protection high-temperature tiles on the lower surface of the shuttle orbiter. The loss of external tank foam material and subsequent damage to reentry tiles is a concern because it causes tile replacement costs to significantly increase, however, it is not a flight safety issue."
Did you get that phrase? Let us repeat it for you:
"... damage to reentry tiles is a concern
because it causes tile replacement costs to significantly increase, however,
it is not a flight safety issue..."
The U.S. Air Force hired Arnold Engineering to examine the issue of the foam coming off during flight, which had caused damage to several shuttle orbiters, just as it did happen on this Columbia shuttle flight. However, Arnold Engineering told the Air Force that "subsequent damage to reentry tiles ... is not a flight safety issue".
Therefore, flight tiles damaged on takeoff is a common issue that has been experienced on previous shuttle missions, and they never crashed on reentry! Further, Arnold Engineering boldly states that having damaged tiles is not a "safety issue" during the flight, and that certainly includes reentry and landing. This report is on U.S. Air Force letterhead, so these conclusions carry the authority of the government.
Therefore, we are being lied to once again by our government and the Mass Media that serves it; we must now look for other issues that might have caused the Columbia to wobble, get off course, and lose control.