[FPSPACE] INformation about final CAIB report....

Peter Pesavento eagles267@wwainc.com
Sat, 7 Jun 2003 09:33:32 -0400


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=20
June 7, 2003
NASA's Failings Go Far Beyond Foam Hitting Shuttle, Panel Says
By JOHN SCHWARTZ with MATTHEW L. WALD

    =20
SAN ANTONIO, June 6 - NASA's problems go far beyond falling foam, =
according to an early outline of the report by the independent panel =
investigating the accident that doomed the shuttle Columbia and its =
crew.=20

The failings include an institutional culture that plays down problems, =
as well as constraints from Washington that may have reduced the ability =
to reach space safely.

The outline portrays the fatal Columbia mission as the tip of an iceberg =
of problems that include communications breakdowns and an increasingly =
complacent attitude toward warning signs. Budget pressures and =
administrative shuffles add to the pressure on the National Aeronautics =
and Space Administration, the report suggests, and may have contributed =
to the troubles.=20

It also reviews steps to avoid such pitfalls at other businesses and =
organizations that deal with high risks, including nuclear power plants =
and submarines, offshore oil rigs and aircraft carrier flight decks.

The outline does not lay out the board's recommendations to NASA for =
returning the shuttle fleet to space, although it has already made two =
proposals, to set up an agreement for outside agencies to monitor the =
shuttle consistently during flight and to establish a program for =
testing aging shuttle materials. NASA says it is starting work on =
carrying out some of the recommendations.

The document was first described today by The Orlando Sentinel, and an =
official of the investigation board discussed it for reporters here in a =
lull in preparations for shooting foam at a mock shuttle wing.=20

Harold W. Gehman Jr., the retired admiral who leads the board, has said =
the panel hoped to have its final report ready by the end of July, =
before Congress goes into its August recess. Admiral Gehman has promised =
a "voluminous" report that will provide a sweeping history of the =
shuttle program.

The detailed 10-page outline is the sixth version of the document, with =
more versions to come as the board prepares to write its final report.=20

The official also warned that the order of chapters and the content was =
subject to change, because some testing and research into the causes of =
the accident were continuing. The board has another hearing scheduled =
for Thursday.=20

According to the outline, the final report will consist of 10 chapters =
and extensive appendices. The first chapter, "Evolution of the Space =
Shuttle Program," will tell the history of the original concepts behind =
the shuttle, including the "design trade-offs" and difficulties in the =
early program.=20

That chapter will also discuss the accident in 1986 that destroyed the =
Challenger and its crew of seven.

The next chapter, "Columbia's Final Flight," provides a detailed =
description of the mission that ended in breakup on Feb. 1. That chapter =
includes a discussion of the preparations for launching and the =
sometimes anguished e-mail messages during the mission as engineers =
discussed the possible damage caused by the striking foam. In the next =
chapter, the "proximate causes of the accident sequence" will be =
presented, the analysis of the foam impact, the problems with foam =
shedding from external tanks and the extensive information collected =
from sensors and experiments after the accident.

The report will then go into problems in a chapter "Beyond the Proximate =
Cause," including the budget cuts by different White Houses and =
Congresses. That part, Chapter 4, will also discuss shifts in management =
from Houston to NASA headquarters in Washington and the effects of =
efforts over the years to privatize the shuttle program. The most recent =
privatization effort was creating a single major contractor for shuttle =
business, the United Space Alliance, owned equally by Boeing and =
Lockheed Martin.=20

Still further, the report will describe "Factors That Contributed to the =
Loss of Columbia," including a gradual erosion in safety margins and a =
tendency to play down risky anomalies and consider them to be part of =
the realm of acceptable.=20

That chapter, too, will deal with the flawed analysis of the foam strike =
that led managers to conclude that the impact posed no great threat to =
the Columbia or its crew and to squelch any further efforts to assess =
damage to the spacecraft.=20

This is also the part of the report that will discuss whether anything =
could have been done if the wing damage had been detected. NASA =
officials had initially said little or nothing could have been done to =
rescue the crew, but a later analysis for the board suggested that a =
high-risk effort to launch a rescue mission had a remote chance of =
success.

Turning from the past to the future, a chapter entitled "Managing Risky =
Technology" will describe the ways that workers and managers in other =
"high-reliability" environments like nuclear submarines work to prevent =
accidents.=20

The eighth chapter, "A Look Ahead," will discuss the implications of the =
accident for the future of the shuttle program, the board official said. =
It will describe the conditions necessary if NASA is to return to =
flight.

An additional chapter will describe other problems found by the board =
that have no effects on the Columbia disaster.

Although the document is the first look at the ways the threads of the =
investigation are plaited, board members have discussed virtually all =
the topics in the outline at hearings, briefings or in Congressional =
testimony, the board official said.

Constable Cleared in Theft

LUFKIN, Tex., June 6 (AP) - A law officer was cleared today of stealing =
debris from the Columbia, the first case to go to trial that involved =
the theft of shuttle wreckage.

The official, Constable Robert Hagan II of Harrison County, said he =
forgot to turn over the items to the authorities and did not intend to =
steal them. Constable Hagan, 46, was charged with stealing government =
property and faced up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if =
convicted.

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<DIV><FONT face=3DArial size=3D2><!--StartFragment --><FONT =
face=3D"Times New Roman"=20
size=3D3>&nbsp;</FONT>
<H5>June 7, 2003</H5><NYT_HEADLINE type=3D" " =
version=3D"1.0"></NYT_HEADLINE>
<H2>NASA's Failings Go Far Beyond Foam Hitting Shuttle, Panel=20
Says</H2><NYT_BYLINE type=3D" " version=3D"1.0"><FONT =
size=3D-1><STRONG>By JOHN=20
SCHWARTZ with MATTHEW L. WALD</STRONG></FONT><BR><BR></NYT_BYLINE>
<TABLE cellSpacing=3D0 cellPadding=3D0 align=3Dright border=3D0>
  <TBODY>
  <TR>
    <TD></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE><NYT_TEXT></NYT_TEXT>
<P><IMG alt=3DS =
src=3D"http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/s.gif" align=3Dleft=20
border=3D0>SAN ANTONIO, June 6 =97 NASA's problems go far beyond falling =
foam,=20
according to an early outline of the report by the independent panel=20
investigating the accident that doomed the shuttle Columbia and its =
crew. </P>
<P>The failings include an institutional culture that plays down =
problems, as=20
well as constraints from Washington that may have reduced the ability to =
reach=20
space safely.</P>
<P>The outline portrays the fatal Columbia mission as the tip of an =
iceberg of=20
problems that include communications breakdowns and an increasingly =
complacent=20
attitude toward warning signs. Budget pressures and administrative =
shuffles add=20
to the pressure on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, =
the report=20
suggests, and may have contributed to the troubles. </P>
<P>It also reviews steps to avoid such pitfalls at other businesses and=20
organizations that deal with high risks, including nuclear power plants =
and=20
submarines, offshore oil rigs and aircraft carrier flight decks.</P>
<P>The outline does not lay out the board's recommendations to NASA for=20
returning the shuttle fleet to space, although it has already made two=20
proposals, to set up an agreement for outside agencies to monitor the =
shuttle=20
consistently during flight and to establish a program for testing aging =
shuttle=20
materials. NASA says it is starting work on carrying out some of the=20
recommendations.</P>
<P>The document was first described today by The Orlando Sentinel, and =
an=20
official of the investigation board discussed it for reporters here in a =
lull in=20
preparations for shooting foam at a mock shuttle wing. </P>
<P>Harold W. Gehman Jr., the retired admiral who leads the board, has =
said the=20
panel hoped to have its final report ready by the end of July, before =
Congress=20
goes into its August recess. Admiral Gehman has promised a "voluminous" =
report=20
that will provide a sweeping history of the shuttle program.</P>
<P>The detailed 10-page outline is the sixth version of the document, =
with more=20
versions to come as the board prepares to write its final report. </P>
<P>The official also warned that the order of chapters and the content =
was=20
subject to change, because some testing and research into the causes of =
the=20
accident were continuing. The board has another hearing scheduled for =
Thursday.=20
</P>
<P>According to the outline, the final report will consist of 10 =
chapters and=20
extensive appendices. The first chapter, "Evolution of the Space Shuttle =

Program," will tell the history of the original concepts behind the =
shuttle,=20
including the "design trade-offs" and difficulties in the early program. =
</P>
<P>That chapter will also discuss the accident in 1986 that destroyed =
the=20
Challenger and its crew of seven.</P>
<P>The next chapter, "Columbia's Final Flight," provides a detailed =
description=20
of the mission that ended in breakup on Feb. 1. That chapter includes a=20
discussion of the preparations for launching and the sometimes anguished =
e-mail=20
messages during the mission as engineers discussed the possible damage =
caused by=20
the striking foam. In the next chapter, the "proximate causes of the =
accident=20
sequence" will be presented, the analysis of the foam impact, the =
problems with=20
foam shedding from external tanks and the extensive information =
collected from=20
sensors and experiments after the accident.</P>
<P>The report will then go into problems in a chapter "Beyond the =
Proximate=20
Cause," including the budget cuts by different White Houses and =
Congresses. That=20
part, Chapter 4, will also discuss shifts in management from Houston to =
NASA=20
headquarters in Washington and the effects of efforts over the years to=20
privatize the shuttle program. The most recent privatization effort was =
creating=20
a single major contractor for shuttle business, the United Space =
Alliance, owned=20
equally by <ORG value=3D"BA" idsrc=3D"NYSE"><ALT-CODE value=3D"The =
Boeing Company"=20
idsrc=3D"NYSE">Boeing</ALT-CODE> and Lockheed Martin. </ORG></P>
<P>Still further, the report will describe "Factors That Contributed to =
the Loss=20
of Columbia," including a gradual erosion in safety margins and a =
tendency to=20
play down risky anomalies and consider them to be part of the realm of=20
acceptable. </P>
<P>That chapter, too, will deal with the flawed analysis of the foam =
strike that=20
led managers to conclude that the impact posed no great threat to the =
Columbia=20
or its crew and to squelch any further efforts to assess damage to the=20
spacecraft. </P>
<P>This is also the part of the report that will discuss whether =
anything could=20
have been done if the wing damage had been detected. NASA officials had=20
initially said little or nothing could have been done to rescue the =
crew, but a=20
later analysis for the board suggested that a high-risk effort to launch =
a=20
rescue mission had a remote chance of success.</P>
<P>Turning from the past to the future, a chapter entitled "Managing =
Risky=20
Technology" will describe the ways that workers and managers in other=20
"high-reliability" environments like nuclear submarines work to prevent=20
accidents. </P>
<P>The eighth chapter, "A Look Ahead," will discuss the implications of =
the=20
accident for the future of the shuttle program, the board official said. =
It will=20
describe the conditions necessary if NASA is to return to flight.</P>
<P>An additional chapter will describe other problems found by the board =
that=20
have no effects on the Columbia disaster.</P>
<P>Although the document is the first look at the ways the threads of =
the=20
investigation are plaited, board members have discussed virtually all =
the topics=20
in the outline at hearings, briefings or in Congressional testimony, the =
board=20
official said.</P>
<P>Constable Cleared in Theft</P>
<P>LUFKIN, Tex., June 6 (AP) =97 A law officer was cleared today of =
stealing=20
debris from the Columbia, the first case to go to trial that involved =
the theft=20
of shuttle wreckage.</P>
<P>The official, Constable Robert Hagan II of Harrison County, said he =
forgot to=20
turn over the items to the authorities and did not intend to steal them. =

Constable Hagan, 46, was charged with stealing government property and =
faced up=20
to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if=20
convicted.</P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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