Board Meets With NASA Administrator; Investigation Continues

By SpaceRef Editor
February 8, 2003
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NASA Adminstrator Sean O’Keefe met with the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, or CAIB, on Friday. Located at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, and chaired by retired Navy Admiral Harold Gehman, Jr., the CAIB has now taken over the inquiry.

Administrator O’Keefe also met with JSC employees, praising them for their dedication and vowing the space program will emerge from the accident stronger than ever.

At an afternoon briefing, Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore discussed the finding of a small portion of insulation from one of the shuttle’s wings in the Fort Worth, Texas area. The reinforced carbon-carbon insulation measures between 66 and 68.5 centimeters (26-27 inches) long and 46 centimeters (18 inches) wide. It has not been determined whether it is from the left or right wing. More than 1,200 people are involved in the recovery effort.

Dittemore also took some time describing the pace of the investigation and complimenting the Shuttle Program teammembers.

During the briefing, Dittemore provided a presentation showing the sequential shutdown of Columbia’s sensors in the final minutes of the orbiter’s flight. The Shuttle Program Manager also discussed a photo taken by Air Force cameras saying, “It is not clear to me that this photo reveals anything significant at this point.”

SpaceRef staff editor.