NBC mistakes

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Jul 12, 2005, 11:25:18 PM7/12/05
Well since Jim Oberg asked that mistakes on NBC brought to his
attention I figured I'd take him up on it.

In the MSNBC special Jay Barbaree talked about the tiles on the OMS
pods and compared them with the "tiles" which doomed Columbia. Last
time I checked it was RCC panels which were damaged on Columbia - not

The Cocoa Beach weather commentator pointed at the launch pads on the
horizon and claimed that they were used for the Gemini and Mercury
missions. The Mercury Atlas and Gemini Titan launch towers are no more.
The Mercury Redstone is just a mockup at the museum and did not have a
launch tower. Another mistake in the commentary those pads are _NOT_
used for current rockets. The currently active pads for expendable
rockets are LC-17A & 17B, LC-41, and LC-37.

B-Roll video of mission control when the narrator talks about reentry
shows the old MOCR.

And I wasn't even looking for mistakes when I watched this special.
Based on Jim Oberg's comments I had expected that somebody was going to
try to be striving for at least a modicum of accuracy. Barbree not
knowing - or caring - about the difference between tiles and RCC I
shrugged off, very few members of the press know or care about the
difference so I wasn't really surprised that he botched that up. I
laughed when the guy on Cocoa Beach claimed that the gantrys visible
from there were used for Mercury and Gemini. But not bothering to get
the correct B-Roll video for a precanned piece prepared in advance -
that showed that they just didn't care about getting the facts right.

Hmmm, this is fun - I wonder what other mistakes they will make on
launch day.

It seems ironic that if they made similar mistakes when covering sports
(e.g. not knowing the difference between sprints and long distance
running) then the reporters would be laughed away for their inaccuracy.
But for technical stories they can apparently get away with it with the
attitude "who cares?"

Alex Harris


Jul 13, 2005, 3:48:31 AM7/13/05
> In the MSNBC special Jay Barbaree talked about
> the tiles on the OMS pods and compared them
> with the "tiles" which doomed Columbia.

Well it's karma, isn't it, that when you spend 2+ years avoiding external
damage, something will fall off and cause external damage. I have to
agree that tiles are not RCC even though the mode of today's mishap was

An amusing thing happened the other day. Baseball announcer told story
of how pitcher Schultz allowed home run, losing the championship. The
other announcer was not listening, so when the story was over he says
"Yeah that was a great day for Shultz" and the first guy says well no
actually he was on the losing team that day.

I wonder if anyone is listening when Bush and NASA talk about a lunar
manned mission between 2015 and 2020 at current funding levels plus
inflation of course. Well I suppose we have to finish ISS first, but the
2015 date would suggest we need to start bending metal real soon. With
Hillary all things are possible, perhaps even a budget veto, not seen
during the current administration. Will the unwashed masses who
represent the bulk of her constituency be space aficionados?

If we go to Mars, we need to think about international cooperation. And
if we have international partners in the Moon-Mars trip, we need to get
in on the ground floor with Kliper and make it an integral part of the
plan. Kliper specs already include trans-lunar capability. Who can
blame Rusaviakosmos for designing a vehicle we might want to use? We
have been depending on their vehicles for two years. The Iranian's
damned nuke program and the US congressional boycott of funding Russian
space equipment is really wearing thin. Surely the Russians have to
wonder if it is wise to help a Muslim theocracy develop nuclear power
plants. Well, at least the Iranians pay in cash.

Jim Oberg

Jul 13, 2005, 7:40:39 AM7/13/05
All noted, accepted, and sent on to responsible parties.

Actually, when Barbree was describing the radio interference problem
from my own story on msnbc.com, he described the threat to the
hold-down pyros, not to the destrust pyros. Am pursuing this.

"alex" <alexha...@hotmail.com> wrote in message

Message has been deleted

Reed Snellenberger

Jul 13, 2005, 10:09:04 AM7/13/05
"Jim Oberg" <james...@houston.rr.com> wrote in news:UB8Be.145150

> Matt Lauer on TODAY:
> "The tank contains liquid oxygen and hydrogen, that are
> mixed shortly before launch to make fuel."

Pretty accurate, though, when measured against some of his other

I was punching a text message into my | Reed Snellenberger
phone yesterday and thought, "they need | GPG KeyID: 5A978843
to make a phone that you can just talk | rsnellenberger
into." Major Thomb | -at-houston.rr.com

Jim Oberg

Jul 13, 2005, 9:24:04 AM7/13/05


Jul 13, 2005, 3:57:00 PM7/13/05
In article <UB8Be.145150$PR6....@tornado.texas.rr.com>,
yes just like epoxy glue, make sure you blend them untl they turn into
a transparent liquid.


Terrell Miller

Jul 13, 2005, 8:30:39 PM7/13/05

here's another example of the hurdles good folks like JimO have to jump
through to get the record set straight:

During this morning's commute I was flipping radio channels and happened
to overhear a snippet of discussion on 99X, our alternative-rock station
in Atlanta.

The DJs were talking about the shuttle launch coming up. One of them
mentioned that he had tried to read up on the flight, but when he got
into the astronaut bios and one mentioned being a "rock&roller" he said
he had to stop. There ensued general hilarity and the consensus that
astronauts are in fact "very brave nerds". True enough, if patronizing.

THen another DJ said he had actually forgotten that Columbia "blew up"
on the previous mission, and the first DJ said yeah, he'd lost track of
where NASA was in the program too.

Then the news chick started talking about the recent damage, how "the
tiles fell off while it was sitting on the launch pad or something".

That got this anal-retentive nerd reaching for his cellphone fast.

Call the station, the producer answers. Tell him I've got a correction
about the shuttle damage story they just talked about. He tells me he's
gonna put me on hold, to turn down my radio and when they pick up don't
spend any time saying "hey, how are y'all?" but just mention that I have
a correction about the shuttle damage.

So I'm tooling along in traffic with the live feed coming over my
cellphone. They have now shifted to this convoluted
stream-of-consciousness discussion about how Courtney Love has gained 50
pounds, was recently seen dancing on a table and then crawling under it
at a NY nightclub, and wouldn't she and Tom Sizemore be a great pair,
they could take turns beating the shit out of each other and then kill
each other in a year or so, and hey did you hear that Sizemore missed
his recent probation hearing and the judge is gonna throw him in jail
the next time, and doesn't he remind you of that other actor who was on
that other show recently and...out of time for today, see you tomorrow!

The producer picks up again and apologizes that they couldn't get to me,
and he hopes I have a great day. And hangs up.

That's how the media prioritizes their airtime. Granted the news does a
much better job of being accurate than a "morning show", but the clear
implication is that most people out there would rather hear the tawdry
details about B-list entertainers' social lives than get an accurate
picture of the doings of the "rocket scientists" who accomplish a hell
of a lot more in *their* lives.

That's what guys like JimO and Rand are up against, and we all owe them
a debt of gratitude for fighting the good fight.

Terrell Miller

"Suddenly, after nearly 30 years of scorn, Prog is cool again".
-Entertainment Weekly

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