The bottom line is there is large uncertainty because nobody has a very good handle on aerodynamics at those altitudes and at those speeds. Given that large degree of uncertainty, life could be normal during entry or some bad things could happen.

— Wayne Hale

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Having three operational vehicles in the fleet affords the shuttle program great schedule flexibility as we move toward flying safely and completing the international space station.

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The Columbia accident made us realize that we had been playing Russian roulette with the shuttle crews - that we had been very, very fortunate in the past that the foam did not cause critical damage.

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