It was [NASA Administrator Michael Griffin] Griffin who chose to go ahead with the mission over concerns from the space agency's safety officer and chief engineer about foam problems that have dogged the agency since Columbia was doomed by a flyaway chunk of insulation 3 1/2 years ago.
Somebody explain to me WHY in the world Griffin gave it the goahead when ignoring concerns from engineers and safety officials is what doomed both the Challenger and Columbia missions?! Gadnabbit, Griffin's a scientist, I was really expecting better from him.
There is one cool part though:
If photos during launch or the flight show serious damage to Discovery, the crew could move into the space station. Then a risky shuttle rescue — fraught with its own problems — would have to be mounted. The rescue ship, Atlantis, would face the same potential foam threat at launch. NASA also worked on a possible plan for flying Discovery back to Earth unmanned if necessary.