NASA Appoints Genesis Mishap Investigation Board Leader

Press Release From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, September 10, 2004

NASA's Associate Administrator for Science Al Diaz announced today, Dr. Michael Ryschkewitsch, Director of the Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, Md., would lead the Genesis Mishap Investigation Board (MIB).

The MIB will gather information; analyze the facts; identify the proximate cause(s), root cause(s) and contributing factors relating to the Genesis mission; and recommend appropriate actions to prevent a future similar mishap. The Genesis sample return capsule failed to deploy its parachutes, as it descended through Earth's atmosphere September 8.

The MIB will include experts from NASA, other government agencies and external consultants. The Board's investigation report is due to NASA Headquarters in mid-November. NASA will release the names of additional MIB members as soon as available. The Board's initial meeting is next week.

Prior to his current assignment, Ryschkewitsch was Deputy Director of the GSFC Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate. He also served as the center's Deputy Director of the Systems, Technology and Advanced Concepts Directorate.

He has a bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in physics from Duke University, Durham, N.C. Prior to joining NASA, he served as a postdoctoral fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Delaware. He joined GSFC in 1982 as a cryogenics engineer. He served as Head of the Cryogenic Systems Development Section and Assistant Branch Head for the Electromechanical Systems Branch. He was selected as Associate Chief of the Space Technology Division in 1990.

He led the GSFC team that worked with Ball Aerospace to develop the concept for the Corrective Optics Space Telescope Axial Replacement (COSTAR), used in the repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. In 1992, he was selected to form, then became Chief, of the Engineering Directorate Systems Engineering Office.

He is a past recipient of the Robert Baumann Award for Mission Success. In 2004 he received the NASA Engineering and Safety Center Leadership Award.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Genesis mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, developed and operated the spacecraft. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

News and information about Genesis is available on the Internet at:

Detailed background information about the mission is available on the Internet, at:

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