Because of an error by the Associated Press, the identifications of Richard Truly and Robert Crippen were reversed under a photograph on Page A3 yesterday.
NASA's space flight chief said today the next shuttle will be launched with the caution accorded the first shuttle flight in 1981, and will land at Edwards Air Force Base rather than the shorter Cape Canaveral landing strip criticized by John Young and other astronauts.
Rear Adm. Richard H. Truly, associate administrator for space flight, said the shuttle program will be "down for a year or a little longer," and will be more conservative when it resumes. But he said a cautious program will not translate into "a namby-pamby shuttle program."
Truly spoke to an auditorium overflowing with Johnson Space Center employes. He detailed an array of tasks and procedural reviews that must be done before the next shuttle launch.
In a later news conference, Truly acknowledged that, as a result of the fatal Jan. 28 Challenger explosion, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has "lost some of our perceived credibility and we must gain that back. The way that I see as a strategy to gain that back is to make clear that we are going to review everything that is a part of this process . . . . We are going to get back into robust space shuttle flying over the next couple years."
He also said the agency will not hesitate to make "big changes" in the way it decides whether to launch spacecraft if such management changes are necessary.
"The business of flying in space is a bold business . . . . You can't print enough money to make it totally risk free," Truly told employes. "It is all of you who must make the commitment to get us flying again."
"My role is to create a situation . . . that brings the strength of the people of NASA and its contractors back to bear on the problem, and not to look backwards, but look forwards," he told reporters.
Truly said that in addition to redesigning the faulty joint in the solid rocket booster that is believed to have caused the explosion, he has ordered a review of all critical shuttle parts, review of all inspection and maintenance procedures, and reassessment of the way NASA makes decisions, including launch decisions. "I am not hesitant in the least to make changes, even big ones . . . . to the way that hierarchy of decision-making is done," Truly said.
Truly, NASA's chief contact with the presidential commission investigating the accident, said he had discussed his plans, laid out in a memo, with commission chairman William P. Rogers and had his "full support."
Truly said he has ordered that the next launch take place in daylight in good weather with an all-NASA crew. The mission will launch a satellite, but Truly refused to say whether it will be a commercial or a Defense Department payload.
"However," he said, "we want to make sure that we make clear to all of our customers that we are getting back in the business. And my guess is that each of them will be served in the first year to 18 months."
The shuttle will land at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Truly said. Several astronauts have complained that the Cape Canaveral landing strip in Florida is inadequate.
As to future landings, Truly said, "It may be prudent to plan to land at Edwards the majority of times . . . . That's where we'll start again. I don't care to debate that. It's certainly a very real question."