Status Report

Revision 1 to NASA’s Implementation Plan for ISS Continuing Flight

By SpaceRef Editor
February 27, 2004
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Revision 1 to NASA’s Implementation Plan for ISS Continuing Flight

Download Revision 1 Summary January 30, 2004

Revision 1 to NASA’s Implementation Plan for International Space Station
Continuing Flight (“ISS Continuing Flight Plan”) reflects our progress to date in
responding to the applicable recommendations and observations of the Columbia
Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), as well as additional ISS Continuous Improvement
actions that have been directed by the ISS Program. Revision 1 replaces
in its entirety the document initially released on October 28, 2003. Change bars have
been added to those pages herein that have been modified since the initial release.

In this revision, NASA responds to the observations contained in Chapter 10 of the
CAIB Report, and to the recommendations and observations in Volume II, Appendix
D.a, Supplement to the CAIB Report. These responses are included in Parts 2.2 and
2.3, respectively.

NASA’s progress from planning to implementation in many critical Shuttle return
to flight (RTF) areas is reflected in updates to the Shuttle Program’s Volume 1 of
NASA’s response to the CAIB Report. It includes descriptions of ISS Program
participation in assuring adequate on-orbit inspection and repair and contingency
crew support capabilities. Concurrently, the ISS has made progress in a number of
areas crucial to safe continuing flight operations.

Safety and Mission Success Week. The ISS Program actively participated in the
Agencywide Safety and Mission Success Week, November 17 21. At each staff
meeting and all board and panel meetings during this period, all NASA and
contractor employees were encouraged to review the CAIB Report and openly
discuss any cultural or technical issues that should be brought to the Program’s

New ISS Utilization/Logistics Flight. To ensure that we have the logistics
necessary to support the ISS crew and continued assembly, NASA has added a
flight to the Shuttle manifest. This new flight, STS-121 (ISS flight ULF-1.1), will
accomplish some of the ISS utilization and logistics objectives that were removed
from STS-114 (ISS flight LF-1). These tasks were deferred to accommodate
critical RTF activities such as demonstrating Shuttle Thermal Protection System
inspection and repair.

Organization and Culture. The NASA Administrator directed the Associate
Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance to develop options for responding
to CAIB recommendations 7.5-1, on the establishment of an Independent Technical
Authority, and 7.5-2, on safety organization improvements. As part of this
effort, NASA is working with industry and the Department of Defense to
benchmark their independent oversight processes. The Goddard Space Flight
Center Director is leading a complementary team to make recommendations on
how the CAIB recommendations and observations can be applied beyond the
Shuttle and ISS Programs and across the Agency. The core team for the NASA
Engineering and Safety Center is now in place at the NASA Langley Research
Center and began operation in November 2003. NASA is also taking a number
of positive steps to identify cultural obstacles to effective risk management, including
seeking suggestions from external experts. In this arena of external advice,
the Agency has solicited proposals for a comprehensive plan to develop and deploy
an organizational culture change initiative within NASA, with an emphasis on safety
culture and climate. Using a diversity of inputs, NASA will then make specific and
fundamental changes to remove those obstacles with training programs and other
management initiatives.

As we issue this revision, NASA is embarking on a new and exciting chapter in
space exploration. The President’s new vision for U.S. space exploration, “A Renewed
Spirit of Discovery,” calls for a sustained, achievable, and affordable human and robotic
program to explore the solar system and beyond. The ISS has played and will now play
an even more crucial role in paving the way for human space exploration beyond low
Earth orbit. The President directed NASA to complete assembly of the ISS by the end of
this decade and to focus U.S. research and use of the ISS on supporting space exploration
goals, with emphasis on understanding how the space environment affects astronaut
health and developing countermeasures and spacecraft systems, such as those for life
support. Consistent with the recommendations of the CAIB with regard to the Space
Shuttle, the President has also directed NASA to separate to the maximum practical
extent crew from cargo transportation to the ISS. As a result, we will reexamine crew
rotation and ISS logistics and develop a new plan to meet those requirements. Future
revisions of NASA’s Implementation Plan for International Space Station Continuing
Flight will reflect the role of the ISS defined in this new vision.

Beyond the CAIB recommendations and observations, ISS continues to receive and
evaluate inputs from a variety of sources, including the additional volumes of the CAIB
Report released in October 2003, our own employees, our virtual suggestion box at, and a Government Mandatory Inspection Point (GMIP)
independent assessment report released in late January 2004. We are systematically
assessing the suggested corrective actions and will incorporate these actions into future
revisions of our ISS Continuing Flight Plan.

SpaceRef staff editor.