[FPSPACE] Latest from CBS News....

Peter Pesavento eagles267@wwainc.com
Tue, 24 Jun 2003 19:04:48 -0400


This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

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=20
CBS NEWS STATUS REPORT

a.. 06:45 p.m., 06/24/03, Update: Foam strike 'most probable cause' of =
disaster; details of Columbia's final seconds; Gehman previews key areas =
of final report; critical foam impact tests on tap; NASA releases crew =
video=20
  A member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said today, for =
the first time, that a foam strike during the shuttle's launching is the =
"most probable cause" of the disaster. He also said analysis of =
recovered debris indicates a large portion of the ship's left wing broke =
off in the shuttle's final seconds at the point where the catastrophic =
breach occurred.
  "This is probably the first time you've ever heard me say it's highly =
probable that the foam is the cause of the accident," said Roger =
Tetrault. "It's probably the first time you've heard members of the =
board say it with that kind of strength. We think, when you look at the =
analysis of all the things that are pointing to the same area in terms =
of the hole versus where the foam hit, that that's a fairly compelling =
story."

  Columbia's left wing leading edge was struck by a suitcase-size chunk =
of foam insulation that broke off the shuttle's external fuel tank 81 =
seconds after liftoff Jan. 16. The foam hit the underside of the leading =
edge at a velocity of 500 mph or so. Investigators have long believed =
the foam strike played a role in the disaster, but Tetrault's comments =
today were the first by a board member to elevate the impact to the =
level of "most probable cause."

  In other developments today, NASA released nearly 10 hours of =
videotape and still photography shot by Columbia's crew that was =
recovered in the ship's wreckage over the past several weeks and months. =
The photography provides no fresh insights into the cause of the =
disaster, but it no doubt provides sad comfort to family members, giving =
them one more glimpse of their loved ones as they cheerfully worked =
through their final days in orbit.

  If nothing else, the video put a fresh human face on the disaster and =
the high stakes involved in the CAIB's efforts to make sure its final =
report properly addresses the "root cause" of the mishap as well as =
contributing factors. CAIB chairman Harold Gehman provided an impromptu =
preview of what that final report will include and said none of the =
recommendations would, by themselves, prevent NASA from resuming shuttle =
flights within nine months.

  "I don't speculate on the date of return to flight," he told reporters =
at a news conference. "I would say that having read every word of the =
draft report and having gone over what might be possible =
recommendations, I don't see any recommendations which are so difficult =
to accomplish that they shouldn't be able to return to flight in six to =
nine months. Other than that, I wouldn't put any numbers on it."

  Many NASA insiders believe launch likely will be delayed well into =
next year, but senior agency officials continue to hold out hope for a =
flight by the end of the year. One major wild card in all such =
speculation is what actions Congress might take when it begins =
considering the CAIB report later this fall.

  In any case, Gehman said a "goodly portion of the report, perhaps =
half, is going to deal with the issue of management and management =
techniques at NASA."

  "We will not tell NASA how to organize, we will not draw a wiring =
diagram for them," he said. "But we will tell them what we believe are =
the characteristics of what we believe to be essentially a flight =
development program that would help ensure safe operations. We won't =
tell them how to do it, but we will tell them what needs to be done."

  By including the phrase "flight development program," Gehman was =
serving notice that the board views shuttle operations as more of a =
series of on-going test flights than as any sort of routine, operational =
program. He said the CAIB report will force NASA to address the issue of =
foam shedding, debris impacts and on-orbit inspection and repair of =
possible post-launch damage.

  "I believe the report is going to suggest that you have to take action =
in each of four areas," he said. "First, you have to take action to =
either minimize or prevent as best you can foam loss and certainly you =
have to prevent the egregious foam loss, the big pieces.

  "But we're also going to suggest you have to toughen the orbiter's =
ability to take debris hits because the orbiter is going to continue to =
take debris hits. It was designed not to, but that's now proven to be =
not the case. So you have to increase the orbiter's ability to take =
hits.

  "You also - number 3 - you also have to improve your ability to =
recover from a hit," Gehman said. "That means you have to be able to =
inspect the orbiter after it's launched and if you find something wrong, =
you have to be able to make emergency, temporary, one-mission repairs in =
case the first two steps don't accomplish it."

  The fourth item on his list was crew escape. While the board will not =
make any specific recommendations in that area, Gehman said "we're going =
to comment on how we got to the present status. But whether or not =
improvements need to be made, we're leaving that to NASA."

  An interim recommendation that will require NASA to develop an =
in-flight ability to repair damage to heat shield tiles and reinforced =
carbon carbon leading edge panels is nearing completion. Its release has =
been held up while the board struggles to fine-tune the wording. "We're =
trying to state what we want to happen, not how to do it," Gehman said.

  A detailed overview of NASA's efforts to develop just such a tile =
repair capability is available in the June 20 CBS News status report =
posted below.

  Tetrault provided a fresh look at Columbia's final moments today, =
outlining how the shuttle's left wing broke apart in the ship's final =
seconds. He reviewed earlier evidence pointing toward a breach at or =
near reinforced carbon carbon panel No. 8, the largest of 22 such panels =
that make up the left wing's leading edge. The panel is located at the =
point where the wing's sweep angle changes and as such features a =
complex, curved shape.

  Tetrault briefly reviewed recorded sensor data and the timing of =
sensor failures as a plume of super-heated air burned its way through =
wire bundles inside the left wing, both of which indicate a breach at or =
near RCC 8.

  He reminded reporters that very little debris has been recovered from =
the area of RCC panels 8 through 10. No attachment fittings, known as =
spanner beams and spar fittings, have been found. No portions of the =
lower halves of the RCC panels themselves have been recovered. So-called =
knife-edge erosion, indicative of extreme heating, is present in the few =
fragments of RCC 8 and 9 that have been found, suggesting the breach =
occurred at or near the lower half of panel 8.

  "The fact that there's such a significant amount of missing material =
from this particular area is very telling and it certainly in my mind =
points to a problem between panels 8 to 10," Tetrault said. "And it also =
points to the fact that we are likely to have burned up much of this =
material, particularly in the spanner beams and spar fittings from these =
areas."

  He showed a map pinpointing where every piece of recovered wing debris =
had been found. Interestingly, the tiles found farthest to the west, =
indicating they fell away early in the shuttle's breakup, were located =
directly behind RCC panels 8 and 9.

  "What that indicates is there was probably a breach somewhere in the 8 =
to 9 area, the hot gas flowed into that breach, it heated up the inside =
of that wing, the RTV (adhesive) which holds the tiles to the outside =
skin of the wing heated up and basically lost its adhesion capability at =
approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit and fell off to the west," Tetrault =
said.

  "One of the other important parts are in this area, we have a number =
of tiles which have a light brown deposit on them. And we've taken some =
preliminary chemical analysis of that light brown deposit. And what we =
find out from that preliminary analysis is that deposit is high in iron =
and it's also high in nickel.

  "You may recall the spanner beams which hold the RCC, which appear to =
be missing, are, in fact, high in nickel," he said. "And the spar =
fittings, which hold the panels to the spar itself, are stainless steel, =
so they would be high in iron. What you can surmise from that, in fact, =
is the hole was somewhere in the 8 and 9 area and as the airflow was =
flowing in, some of this molten material from the spar fittings and from =
the spanner beams was in fact being deposited on the lower side of the =
wing. And that's what we're seeing when we do the chemical analysis."

  He reminded reporters that so-called "knife-edge" erosion patterns =
were found on what few pieces of RCC 8 and 9 material that were =
recovered, indicating the flow of extreme heat from 8 toward 9. He said =
unusual slag deposits found on the interior surface of fragments from =
the upper half of RCC 8 showed high concentrations of nickel, "again =
indicating one of the first things to melt inside the wing leading edge =
after the breach occurred were the spanner beams."

  The spherical slag deposits indicate molten material was splattered =
back on the inner surface of the panel from a breach on the lower side =
of RCC 8.

  Showing a plot of recovered wing debris, Tetrault said debris from RCC =
panels 8 through 22 were found farther west than any other fragments =
from the left wing leading edge. Next came fragments of RCC 1 through 7, =
then debris from the shuttle's vertical stabilizer and finally, wreckage =
from the right wing.

  "What this suggests is that at breakup, what we first saw was the left =
wing or a portion of the left wing left the aircraft, fell to the =
ground, followed by the tail, followed by the right wing," Tetrault =
said. "What's really important in all of this, when you look at the left =
wing it's a very long (debris) stream.

  "What we believe happened is somewhere in this area a portion of the =
left wing came off," he said. "A portion of the left wing continued to =
ride with the aircraft downstream and that would have contained panels 1 =
through 7. And at some point later on, panels 1 through 7 began to come =
off the aircraft, we believe it probably ablated (melted) as much as =
fell off, that the pieces were just open to the airstream.

  Interestingly, fragments of panel 8 were found in widely separated =
areas.

  "That begins to indicate to us that, in fact, the breach, not only the =
breach but also the wing, broke apart at panel number 8 region," =
Tetrault said. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have those pieces strewn over =
that lengthy piece of territory. So those are the indicators that we =
have from the debris.

  "I think when you look at it you could probably conclude from the =
debris alone that the most likely breach that we had in the wing =
occurred at panel No. 8 or in the vicinity of panel number 8. ... I =
would also include the T-seals on either side of it. So we feel fairly =
certain on where the breach was."

  As for exactly how the left wing came apart, Tetrault said =
investigators don't yet known whether "half the wing that came off at =
area 8 or just the leading edge of half the wing."

  "I think the prevailing theory right now is it was more than likely =
the leading edge of wing (that came off) and heavy spars held for some =
period later. But if you lost the leading edge, you would lose the RCC =
panels from 8 through 22."

  Looking at all the data and how they fit together, Tetrault said, =
"they certainly are pointing us to the area of RCC panel 8 as being an =
indicator of where the breach occurred in the wing. Not only that, but =
as you well know we have the photographic analysis and evidence that =
indicates the foam struck on panels 6 through 9. And when you put all of =
those pieces of Swiss cheese together, it's a pretty compelling story =
that, in fact, the foam is the most probable cause of the shuttle =
accident."

  Gehman said the full board has yet to decide on what terminology will =
be used in the panel's final report. But a final round of tests at the =
Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, could go a long way =
toward determining how strongly the board links the foam strike to =
Columbia's destruction.

  Using a powerful nitrogen gas cannon, researchers have been firing =
foam debris at a wing leading edge mockup to determine whether a strike =
like the one observed during Columbia's launching could actually break =
one of the carbon composite panels or an associated T-seal. A test shot =
at RCC panel No. 6, taken from the shuttle Discovery, resulted in =
multiple cracks and showed the impact forces were transmitted to =
adjacent panels and T-seals. Just as important as showing cracks were =
possible, the impacts showed the leading edge components responded to =
the impact as an integrated system.

  But panel 6 is smaller than 8 and does not have the same complex =
curvature. As a result, CAIB member Scott Hubbard has decided to shoot =
at RCC panel 8 from the shuttle Atlantis. Adjacent panels and mounting =
hardware also will be flight articles.

  "The thing that I'm trying to do with these tests, and I think the =
board is looking at this information as a piece of that most probable =
cause, is to connect that dot, from foam to breach," Hubbard said today. =
"So that's where I stand. I think the panel 6 tests that we did showed =
that we've got a plausible failure scenario, we created a substantial =
crack, five inches long, but we haven't created yet a breach that is =
like what has been described by the debris.

  "Maybe I'm one step behind Roger in coming to a conclusion, but as =
Admiral Gehman said, that's part of our discussion here."

  Gehman said the board will have to decide "what words we want to use =
when we describe the degree of certainty we use to say the foam caused =
damage to the leading edge of the left wing. Do we want to say we =
'think' it did, we're 'sure' it did, it 'might have,' we think 'most =
likely' it did, the board is 'confident that?' I have 13 different =
opinions on that and at some time I'm going to have to lock everybody in =
a room and come out with one set of words."

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<H4>
<CENTER><A name=3D"CBS NEWS STATUS REPORT">CBS NEWS STATUS=20
REPORT</A></CENTER></H4>
<P></P>
<LI><B>06:45 p.m., 06/24/03, Update: Foam strike 'most probable cause' =
of=20
disaster; details of Columbia's final seconds; Gehman previews key areas =
of=20
final report; critical foam impact tests on tap; NASA releases crew =
video</B>=20
<BLOCKQUOTE>A member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said =
today,=20
  for the first time, that a foam strike during the shuttle's launching =
is the=20
  "most probable cause" of the disaster. He also said analysis of =
recovered=20
  debris indicates a large portion of the ship's left wing broke off in =
the=20
  shuttle's final seconds at the point where the catastrophic breach =
occurred.
  <P>"This is probably the first time you've ever heard me say it's =
highly=20
  probable that the foam is the cause of the accident," said Roger =
Tetrault.=20
  "It's probably the first time you've heard members of the board say it =
with=20
  that kind of strength. We think, when you look at the analysis of all =
the=20
  things that are pointing to the same area in terms of the hole versus =
where=20
  the foam hit, that that's a fairly compelling story."</P>
  <P>Columbia's left wing leading edge was struck by a suitcase-size =
chunk of=20
  foam insulation that broke off the shuttle's external fuel tank 81 =
seconds=20
  after liftoff Jan. 16. The foam hit the underside of the leading edge =
at a=20
  velocity of 500 mph or so. Investigators have long believed the foam =
strike=20
  played a role in the disaster, but Tetrault's comments today were the =
first by=20
  a board member to elevate the impact to the level of "most probable=20
cause."</P>
  <P>In other developments today, NASA released nearly 10 hours of =
videotape and=20
  still photography shot by Columbia's crew that was recovered in the =
ship's=20
  wreckage over the past several weeks and months. The photography =
provides no=20
  fresh insights into the cause of the disaster, but it no doubt =
provides sad=20
  comfort to family members, giving them one more glimpse of their loved =
ones as=20
  they cheerfully worked through their final days in orbit.</P>
  <P>If nothing else, the video put a fresh human face on the disaster =
and the=20
  high stakes involved in the CAIB's efforts to make sure its final =
report=20
  properly addresses the "root cause" of the mishap as well as =
contributing=20
  factors. CAIB chairman Harold Gehman provided an impromptu preview of =
what=20
  that final report will include and said none of the recommendations =
would, by=20
  themselves, prevent NASA from resuming shuttle flights within nine =
months.</P>
  <P>"I don't speculate on the date of return to flight," he told =
reporters at a=20
  news conference. "I would say that having read every word of the draft =
report=20
  and having gone over what might be possible recommendations, I don't =
see any=20
  recommendations which are so difficult to accomplish that they =
shouldn't be=20
  able to return to flight in six to nine months. Other than that, I =
wouldn't=20
  put any numbers on it."</P>
  <P>Many NASA insiders believe launch likely will be delayed well into =
next=20
  year, but senior agency officials continue to hold out hope for a =
flight by=20
  the end of the year. One major wild card in all such speculation is =
what=20
  actions Congress might take when it begins considering the CAIB report =
later=20
  this fall.</P>
  <P>In any case, Gehman said a "goodly portion of the report, perhaps =
half, is=20
  going to deal with the issue of management and management techniques =
at=20
  NASA."</P>
  <P>"We will not tell NASA how to organize, we will not draw a wiring =
diagram=20
  for them," he said. "But we will tell them what we believe are the=20
  characteristics of what we believe to be essentially a flight =
development=20
  program that would help ensure safe operations. We won't tell them how =
to do=20
  it, but we will tell them what needs to be done."</P>
  <P>By including the phrase "flight development program," Gehman was =
serving=20
  notice that the board views shuttle operations as more of a series of =
on-going=20
  test flights than as any sort of routine, operational program. He said =
the=20
  CAIB report will force NASA to address the issue of foam shedding, =
debris=20
  impacts and on-orbit inspection and repair of possible post-launch =
damage.</P>
  <P>"I believe the report is going to suggest that you have to take =
action in=20
  each of four areas," he said. "First, you have to take action to =
either=20
  minimize or prevent as best you can foam loss and certainly you have =
to=20
  prevent the egregious foam loss, the big pieces.</P>
  <P>"But we're also going to suggest you have to toughen the orbiter's =
ability=20
  to take debris hits because the orbiter is going to continue to take =
debris=20
  hits. It was designed not to, but that's now proven to be not the =
case. So you=20
  have to increase the orbiter's ability to take hits.</P>
  <P>"You also - number 3 - you also have to improve your ability to =
recover=20
  from a hit," Gehman said. "That means you have to be able to inspect =
the=20
  orbiter after it's launched and if you find something wrong, you have =
to be=20
  able to make emergency, temporary, one-mission repairs in case the =
first two=20
  steps don't accomplish it."</P>
  <P>The fourth item on his list was crew escape. While the board will =
not make=20
  any specific recommendations in that area, Gehman said "we're going to =
comment=20
  on how we got to the present status. But whether or not improvements =
need to=20
  be made, we're leaving that to NASA."</P>
  <P>An interim recommendation that will require NASA to develop an =
in-flight=20
  ability to repair damage to heat shield tiles and reinforced carbon =
carbon=20
  leading edge panels is nearing completion. Its release has been held =
up while=20
  the board struggles to fine-tune the wording. "We're trying to state =
what we=20
  want to happen, not how to do it," Gehman said.</P>
  <P>A detailed overview of NASA's efforts to develop just such a tile =
repair=20
  capability is available in the June 20 CBS News status report posted=20
below.</P>
  <P>Tetrault provided a fresh look at Columbia's final moments today, =
outlining=20
  how the shuttle's left wing broke apart in the ship's final seconds. =
He=20
  reviewed earlier evidence pointing toward a breach at or near =
reinforced=20
  carbon carbon panel No. 8, the largest of 22 such panels that make up =
the left=20
  wing's leading edge. The panel is located at the point where the =
wing's sweep=20
  angle changes and as such features a complex, curved shape.</P>
  <P>Tetrault briefly reviewed recorded sensor data and the timing of =
sensor=20
  failures as a plume of super-heated air burned its way through wire =
bundles=20
  inside the left wing, both of which indicate a breach at or near RCC =
8.</P>
  <P>He reminded reporters that very little debris has been recovered =
from the=20
  area of RCC panels 8 through 10. No attachment fittings, known as =
spanner=20
  beams and spar fittings, have been found. No portions of the lower =
halves of=20
  the RCC panels themselves have been recovered. So-called knife-edge =
erosion,=20
  indicative of extreme heating, is present in the few fragments of RCC =
8 and 9=20
  that have been found, suggesting the breach occurred at or near the =
lower half=20
  of panel 8.</P>
  <P>"The fact that there's such a significant amount of missing =
material from=20
  this particular area is very telling and it certainly in my mind =
points to a=20
  problem between panels 8 to 10," Tetrault said. "And it also points to =
the=20
  fact that we are likely to have burned up much of this material, =
particularly=20
  in the spanner beams and spar fittings from these areas."</P>
  <P>He showed a map pinpointing where every piece of recovered wing =
debris had=20
  been found. Interestingly, the tiles found farthest to the west, =
indicating=20
  they fell away early in the shuttle's breakup, were located directly =
behind=20
  RCC panels 8 and 9.</P>
  <P>"What that indicates is there was probably a breach somewhere in =
the 8 to 9=20
  area, the hot gas flowed into that breach, it heated up the inside of =
that=20
  wing, the RTV (adhesive) which holds the tiles to the outside skin of =
the wing=20
  heated up and basically lost its adhesion capability at approximately =
400=20
  degrees Fahrenheit and fell off to the west," Tetrault said.</P>
  <P>"One of the other important parts are in this area, we have a =
number of=20
  tiles which have a light brown deposit on them. And we've taken some=20
  preliminary chemical analysis of that light brown deposit. And what we =
find=20
  out from that preliminary analysis is that deposit is high in iron and =
it's=20
  also high in nickel.</P>
  <P>"You may recall the spanner beams which hold the RCC, which appear =
to be=20
  missing, are, in fact, high in nickel," he said. "And the spar =
fittings, which=20
  hold the panels to the spar itself, are stainless steel, so they would =
be high=20
  in iron. What you can surmise from that, in fact, is the hole was =
somewhere in=20
  the 8 and 9 area and as the airflow was flowing in, some of this =
molten=20
  material from the spar fittings and from the spanner beams was in fact =
being=20
  deposited on the lower side of the wing. And that's what we're seeing =
when we=20
  do the chemical analysis."</P>
  <P>He reminded reporters that so-called "knife-edge" erosion patterns =
were=20
  found on what few pieces of RCC 8 and 9 material that were recovered,=20
  indicating the flow of extreme heat from 8 toward 9. He said unusual =
slag=20
  deposits found on the interior surface of fragments from the upper =
half of RCC=20
  8 showed high concentrations of nickel, "again indicating one of the =
first=20
  things to melt inside the wing leading edge after the breach occurred =
were the=20
  spanner beams."</P>
  <P>The spherical slag deposits indicate molten material was splattered =
back on=20
  the inner surface of the panel from a breach on the lower side of RCC =
8.</P>
  <P>Showing a plot of recovered wing debris, Tetrault said debris from =
RCC=20
  panels 8 through 22 were found farther west than any other fragments =
from the=20
  left wing leading edge. Next came fragments of RCC 1 through 7, then =
debris=20
  from the shuttle's vertical stabilizer and finally, wreckage from the =
right=20
  wing.</P>
  <P>"What this suggests is that at breakup, what we first saw was the =
left wing=20
  or a portion of the left wing left the aircraft, fell to the ground, =
followed=20
  by the tail, followed by the right wing," Tetrault said. "What's =
really=20
  important in all of this, when you look at the left wing it's a very =
long=20
  (debris) stream.</P>
  <P>"What we believe happened is somewhere in this area a portion of =
the left=20
  wing came off," he said. "A portion of the left wing continued to ride =
with=20
  the aircraft downstream and that would have contained panels 1 through =
7. And=20
  at some point later on, panels 1 through 7 began to come off the =
aircraft, we=20
  believe it probably ablated (melted) as much as fell off, that the =
pieces were=20
  just open to the airstream.</P>
  <P>Interestingly, fragments of panel 8 were found in widely separated=20
  areas.</P>
  <P>"That begins to indicate to us that, in fact, the breach, not only =
the=20
  breach but also the wing, broke apart at panel number 8 region," =
Tetrault=20
  said. "Otherwise, you wouldn't have those pieces strewn over that =
lengthy=20
  piece of territory. So those are the indicators that we have from the=20
  debris.</P>
  <P>"I think when you look at it you could probably conclude from the =
debris=20
  alone that the most likely breach that we had in the wing occurred at =
panel=20
  No. 8 or in the vicinity of panel number 8. ... I would also include =
the=20
  T-seals on either side of it. So we feel fairly certain on where the =
breach=20
  was."</P>
  <P>As for exactly how the left wing came apart, Tetrault said =
investigators=20
  don't yet known whether "half the wing that came off at area 8 or just =
the=20
  leading edge of half the wing."</P>
  <P>"I think the prevailing theory right now is it was more than likely =
the=20
  leading edge of wing (that came off) and heavy spars held for some =
period=20
  later. But if you lost the leading edge, you would lose the RCC panels =
from 8=20
  through 22."</P>
  <P>Looking at all the data and how they fit together, Tetrault said, =
"they=20
  certainly are pointing us to the area of RCC panel 8 as being an =
indicator of=20
  where the breach occurred in the wing. Not only that, but as you well =
know we=20
  have the photographic analysis and evidence that indicates the foam =
struck on=20
  panels 6 through 9. And when you put all of those pieces of Swiss =
cheese=20
  together, it's a pretty compelling story that, in fact, the foam is =
the most=20
  probable cause of the shuttle accident."</P>
  <P>Gehman said the full board has yet to decide on what terminology =
will be=20
  used in the panel's final report. But a final round of tests at the =
Southwest=20
  Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, could go a long way toward=20
  determining how strongly the board links the foam strike to Columbia's =

  destruction.</P>
  <P>Using a powerful nitrogen gas cannon, researchers have been firing =
foam=20
  debris at a wing leading edge mockup to determine whether a strike =
like the=20
  one observed during Columbia's launching could actually break one of =
the=20
  carbon composite panels or an associated T-seal. A test shot at RCC =
panel No.=20
  6, taken from the shuttle Discovery, resulted in multiple cracks and =
showed=20
  the impact forces were transmitted to adjacent panels and T-seals. =
Just as=20
  important as showing cracks were possible, the impacts showed the =
leading edge=20
  components responded to the impact as an integrated system.</P>
  <P>But panel 6 is smaller than 8 and does not have the same complex =
curvature.=20
  As a result, CAIB member Scott Hubbard has decided to shoot at RCC =
panel 8=20
  from the shuttle Atlantis. Adjacent panels and mounting hardware also =
will be=20
  flight articles.</P>
  <P>"The thing that I'm trying to do with these tests, and I think the =
board is=20
  looking at this information as a piece of that most probable cause, is =
to=20
  connect that dot, from foam to breach," Hubbard said today. "So that's =
where I=20
  stand. I think the panel 6 tests that we did showed that we've got a =
plausible=20
  failure scenario, we created a substantial crack, five inches long, =
but we=20
  haven't created yet a breach that is like what has been described by =
the=20
  debris.</P>
  <P>"Maybe I'm one step behind Roger in coming to a conclusion, but as =
Admiral=20
  Gehman said, that's part of our discussion here."</P>
  <P>Gehman said the board will have to decide "what words we want to =
use when=20
  we describe the degree of certainty we use to say the foam caused =
damage to=20
  the leading edge of the left wing. Do we want to say we 'think' it =
did, we're=20
  'sure' it did, it 'might have,' we think 'most likely' it did, the =
board is=20
  'confident that?' I have 13 different opinions on that and at some =
time I'm=20
  going to have to lock everybody in a room and come out with one set of =

  words."</P></BLOCKQUOTE></LI></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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