WASHINGTON (AP) – NASA’s top administrator, Sean O’Keefe, said Friday he “completely rejects the proposition” that nothing could have been done in orbit to help Columbia if engineers had known the space shuttle was in trouble.
“To suggest that we would have done nothing is falacious,” O’Keefe said in a meeting with reporters. “If there had been a clear indication (of problems) there would have been no end to the efforts.”
O’Keefe was responding to a question which cited statements by Shuttle program director Ron Dittemore. Those statements said in effect that nothing could have been done to help Columbia and its seven-person crew if Mission Control had known for sure that the space shuttle had experienced damage to its thermal protection tiles
You may be able to see it on this link directly, although there is no caption with it: