Press Release

NASA Announces Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation Board (The Gehman Board)

By SpaceRef Editor
February 2, 2003
Filed under , ,

NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today announced the
members of the Space Shuttle Mishap Interagency Investigation
Board, which will provide an independent review of the events
and activities that led up to the tragic loss of the seven
astronauts Saturday on board the Space Shuttle Columbia.

The board’s first meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at
Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral Harold W. Gehman, Jr., who co-
chaired the independent commission that investigated the
attack on the U.S.S. Cole in Aden, Yemen, Oct. 12, 2000, and
once served as the commander-in-chief of U.S. Joint Forces
Command, will chair the panel.

“While the NASA family and the entire world mourn the loss of
our colleagues, we have a responsibility to quickly move
forward with an external assessment to determine exactly what
happened and why,” said Administrator O’Keefe. “We’re honored
to have such a distinguished panel of experts, led by Admiral

Other members of the investigative board includes:

  • Rear Admiral Stephen Turcotte, Commander, U.S. Naval Safety Center, Norfolk, Va.
  • Major General John L. Barry, Director, Plans and Programs, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio
  • Major General Kenneth W. Hess, Commander, U.S. Air Force Chief of Safety, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.
  • Dr. James N. Hallock, Aviation Safety Division Chief, U.S. Department of Transportation, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Steven B. Wallace, Director of Accident Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington
  • Brigadier General Duane Deal, Commander 21st Space Wing, Peterson Air Foce Base, Colo.

Several senior NASA leaders also will be a part of the panel,
including G. Scott Hubbard, Director, NASA Ames Research
Center, Moffett Field, Calif. Bryan D. O’Connor, NASA
Associate Administrator and former astronaut, Office of
Safety and Mission Assurance, Headquarters, will serve as Ex-
Officio Member, and Theron Bradley, Jr., NASA Chief Engineer,
NASA Headquarters, Washington, will be Executive Secretary.

“We need to be responsible, accountable, and extremely
thorough in this investigation,” added Administrator O’Keefe.
“This panel is charged with a most difficult task, but I am
confident in their ability, their integrity, and their
dedication to doing what’s right. Their findings will help
push America’s space program successfully into the future.”

“Currently, NASA is beginning an internal investigation,
drawing on the extensive expertise throughout the agency.
Public officials for NASA, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, and other federal, state, and local entities are
coordinating talents to help find the cause of this tragedy,”
concluded Administrator O’Keefe

Additional information about the investigation and the STS-
107 mission is available on the Internet at:

SpaceRef staff editor.