NASA and the company that built the Hubble space telescope share the blame for failing to detect the flaw that crippled the instrument's powers, a NASA report concluded.
Workers at the Perkin-Elmer Corp. in Danbury, Conn., had at least three major chances to find the defect before the telescope was placed into orbit in April, but the employees wrongly dismissed the signs, the report said Tuesday.In addition, employees in Perkin-Elmer's optical division failed to bring the signs of trouble to the attention of top company officials or anyone at NASA, said Lew Allen, who led a team that investigated the embarrassing flaw for NASA and issued the report.
However, NASA also must accept responsibility because the agency was in charge of the project and oversaw the work, Allen said.
"Perkin-Elmer should not have allowed a situation for those inhibited communications to exist. NASA had every right to expect that Perkin-Elmer would have done a better job than this," Allen said at a news conference.
"On the other hand, it is fundamentally NASA's responsibility as the government agency to get this done. NASA should have been aware of what was happening at Perkin-Elmer," he said. "I think you have to say each . . . has to bear responsibility."
Sen. Al Gore, D.-Tenn., who held hearings to investigate the telescope's defect, said the report "makes crystal clear" the need for NASA to "continue its efforts to strengthen testing and quality control efforts."
Lennard Fisk, NASA's associate administrator for the Office of Space Science and Applications, said it was "premature" to say whether the agency would take action against Perkin-Elmer.