NASA - Their current public relations problems explained.

Essay by Davelawrence2000University, Master'sA+, July 2003

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NASA's Public Relations Problem

At 8:00 AM CDT on February 1, 2003, all communications were lost with the space shuttle Columbia (STS-107) as the craft disintegrated during re-entry over the clear blue skies of north Texas. The shuttle was at an altitude of 207,135 feet traveling at approximately Mach 18.3 at the time of the accident. Do you think that NASA was thinking about public relations at a time like this? I, naïve as I tend to be, do not think so. Space flight is an extremely risky business. In that regard, I don't necessarily believe that NASA, a government agency, utilizes an integrated marketing communications program per se, but NASA has had to focus on similar goals that include; improving external communications with the public in general, as well as providing unprecedented levels of data and information to outside agencies involved in the crash investigation, re-evaluation of the remaining space shuttles with regard to engineering scrutiny and overall air/space worthiness all the while understanding the need for decorum, integrity and privacy as it pertains to investigative results and details with regard to the surviving family members of the lost shuttle crewmembers.

NASA is walking a fine line. As previously mentioned, they must be cognizant of what types of information are released with respect to family members and colleagues, as well as not being perceived publicly that they are hindering efforts to get to the facts of the accident. The media are similar to rabid dogs or sharks when it comes to unrelenting pressure to provide answers, it matters little to the press that answers that lack engineering review or data from telemetry are unsubstantiated to say the least. If the media does not get their way, they will write stories that are centered on NASA concealing information. I truly...