NASA Pledges Reform Following
Scathing Accident Report
in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia cited the management and culture
of NASA as one of the contributing factors to the accident that killed
seven astronauts. Sean
O'Keefe, NASA administrator, discusses the report and what the agency
plans to do to address its shortcomings. (8/28/03)
Hand Down Columbia Accident Report
An independent board charged with investigating the breakup of the space shuttle
Columbia on Feb. 1 unveiled a report Tuesday morning containing some 30 ways NASA
should improve manned space flight, including better management practices that
would encourage communication among the ranks.
Suarez discusses the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's findings with
a former NASA program manager and historian.
Suarez talks to CAIB
Chairman Hal Gehman about the board's findings and recommendations.
CAIB Chairman Gehman's press conference following the report's release.
Report: The CAIB Final Report. (8/26/03)
Board Gives NASA Head Start on Program Corrections
Update: Prior to unveiling its final report, the Columbia
Accident Investigation Board released five recommendations for NASA to undertake
in future space shuttle missions. The agency has reportedly begun work on implementing
the various recommendations. The board said NASA should:
devise a plan to inspect the condition of all reinforced carbon-carbon
(RCC) systems, since the board found current inspection techniques inadequate.
RCC panels are installed on parts of the shuttle, including the wing
leading edges and nose cap, to protect against the excessive temperatures
of reentry (issued 4/17/03);
make imaging of each shuttle while in orbit standard procedure. The
CAIB offered this suggestion since NASA had no images of the Columbia
shuttle clear enough to determine the extent of the damage to the wing
conduct inspections of the thermal protection system, including tiles
and reinforced carbon-carbon panels, and develop action plans for repairing
the system (6/27/03);
upgrade the imaging system to provide three angles of the shuttle from
liftoff to at least solid rocket booster separation. "The existing
camera sites suffer from a variety of readiness, obsolescence and urban
encroachment ... problems," according to the board (7/1/03);
make the shuttle's on-board cameras, which capture images of the external
tank after separation, available during the ascent, rather than just
post-flight. That way, data may be used to assess debris strikes or
other ascent anomalies earlier in the process (7/30/03).
Strike Becomes 'Smoking Gun' After Tests
A dramatic test July 7 demonstrated the damage a
flying piece of foam could have caused the space shuttle Columbia's wing on liftoff.
The test prompted one Columbia Accident Investigation Board member to say, "We
have found the smoking gun."
Offer Theory for Columbia Disaster
The team investigating backs the theory that superheated
gases may have penetrated the craft through damaged thermal tiles on its left
wing, leading to the spacecraft's disintegration.
Congress Search for Answers to Columbia Breakup
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe answered questions before a congressional
committee about the Columbia disaster. Terence
Smith examines developments in the shuttle investigation with Rep.
Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Lori Garver, a former NASA official.
Worried for Crew's Safety
NASA engineers worried before the shuttle disintegrated that the shuttle's wing
might burn through, leading to a breakup of the craft. (2/26/03)
text of the e-mails released by NASA. (Requires Adobe
Officials Discussed Damage Before Columbia Disaster
Days before the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated a NASA official warned that
damage sustained during takeoff may have been enough to allow super-heated air
to breach its left landing gear door. (2/21/03)
Say Shuttle Was Pierced During Reentry
Experts assess the latest in the shuttle investigation, including NASA's discovery
that the shuttle's skin
was pierced during reentry. (2/13/03)
Indication of Problems During Flight, Official Says
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe tells a congressional committee that he cannot
yet determine what caused the space shuttle Columbia to break up during reentry,
but said investigation efforts are continuing. (2/12/03)
New York Times' David Sanger and former Columbia astronaut Jeff Hoffman on debris
recovery efforts and the
state of the shuttle disaster investigation. (2/6/03)
Damage From Foam Called 'Unlikely'
NASA space shuttle program manager Ron Dittemore said Wednesday it is
unlikely that foam insulation that broke loose from Columbia's external
fuel tank and struck its left wing during liftoff did damage serious
enough to cause the shuttle to break apart as it reentered the earth's
said investigators believe the size and weight of the insulation was too little
to have caused such catastrophic damage.
doesn't make sense to us that a piece of debris could be the root cause of the
loss of Columbia and its crew," Dittemore said. "There's got to be another reason."
(6:30pm EST, 2/5/03)
Reaching for the Stars
views on the lure of space exploration
and the special attributes of the people who do it.
Nation Marks Loss of the Columbia Astronauts
President Bush joined the families of those lost on Columbia to remember the lives
of the seven who died Saturday.
(2:30pm EST, 2/4/03)
Text: The full text of Mr. Bush's remarks.
(4pm EST, 2/4/03)