Press Release

NASA Administrator Accepts Columbia Accident Report

By SpaceRef Editor
August 26, 2003
Filed under , ,
NASA Administrator Accepts Columbia Accident Report
Shuttle Columbia Crew

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington
(Phone: 358-1898/1600)

This morning, NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe received
the report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board
(CAIB) from the chairman, retired U.S. Navy Admiral Harold
Gehman. The following is a statement from the NASA
Administrator regarding the CAIB report.

“On the day of the Columbia tragedy, NASA committed to the
families of STS-107’s crew that we would find the problems
that caused this horrible accident, fix them, and return to
the exploration objectives their loved ones dedicated their
lives to. Today, we have completed the first phase of that
important commitment.

“This morning, Admiral Hal Gehman presented the findings and
recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.
The members have established what they believe to be the
probable cause of the accident and the factors that
contributed to the tragic loss of Columbia and her courageous
crew.

“I want to express NASA’s appreciation for the Board’s
report, which is timely, thorough, and direct. The efforts of
all concerned with the investigation will help NASA improve
the Space Shuttle program, our management processes, and our
capability to safely return to flight.

“The findings and recommendations of the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board will serve as NASA’s blueprint. We have
accepted the findings and will comply with the
recommendations to the best of our ability. The Board has
provided NASA with an important road map, as we determine
when we will be ‘Fit to Fly’ again.

“Due to the comprehensive, timely and open public
communication displayed by the Board throughout the
investigative process, we already have begun to take action
on the earlier issued recommendations, and we intend to
comply with the full range of recommendations released today.

“Our ‘Return to Flight’ efforts are being led by NASA’s
Associate Administrator for Space Flight, William Readdy, and
our Associate Deputy Administrator for Technical Programs,
Dr. Michael Greenfield. They will work closely with the
independent Return to Flight Task Group, led by retired U.S.
Air Force Lieutenant General and former Apollo commander
Thomas P. Stafford and former Space Shuttle commander Richard
O. Covey. The ‘Stafford-Covey Task Group’ will independently
assess every action NASA takes, as we return to flight
operations.

“As an important step to change the culture of the agency, we
have created the NASA Engineering Safety Center (NESC) at the
agency’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to provide
comprehensive examination of all NASA programs and projects.
The NESC will provide a central location to coordinate and
conduct robust engineering and safety assessment across the
entire agency. The NESC will play a key role in ensuring we
return to flight safely and sustain a high level of
engineering and safety excellence for every NASA program.

“The independent Columbia Accident Investigation Board
performed an important service for the Nation, for NASA, and
for the dedicated families of Columbia’s crew. The Board
members conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of the
mission and the entire Space Shuttle program. The Board’s
efforts to perform a timely and a complete investigation into
the technological, engineering, managerial, and human aspects
that contributed to the accident are nothing short of heroic
in nature. We are grateful for their dedication.”

For information about NASA’s return to flight efforts on the
Internet, visit: http://www.nasa.gov

To review Columbia Accident Investigation Board
recommendations on the Internet, visit:
http://www.caib.us/news/report/default.html

SpaceRef staff editor.