This illustrates why it may be a good idea to put some money into research of an alternative to the shuttle program. The shuttle program will always face dangers of this type, considering the speeds/forces involved in getting the shuttle into orbit.
Perhaps a program where a spacecraft could actually take off like an airplane and be piloted out of the atmosphere. Even if a large burst of propulsion was needed to get it out of the atmosphere: it would be pulling less G's since it would already be moving with good speed, it would have to do so for less time, and there possibly wouldn't be external systems needed to do it (booster rocket and foam...).
If the official consensus ends up being that the foam caused this, perhaps it will be an impetus for change.