[FPSPACE] latest from CBS News....

Peter Pesavento eagles267@wwainc.com
Sat, 28 Jun 2003 07:34:21 -0400


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CBS NEWS STATUS REPORT

a.. 12:15 p.m., 06/27/03, Update: CAIB issues interim recommendation for =
development of on-orbit tile/RCC repair capability=20
  As expected, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board today released =
an interim recommendation requiring NASA to develop a capability to =
inspect the shuttle's heat shield system in orbit and to repair any =
significant damage that might be found.
  The recommendation is the third issued by the CAIB in advance of its =
final report, expected around July 23, to give NASA as much time as =
possible to respond and to minimize the downtime before shuttle flights =
can resume. Two other preliminary recommendations were released April =
17. One requires NASA to develop tools for evaluating the strength and =
integrity of heat-shield tiles and leading edge panels and the other =
requires NASA to obtain routine on-orbit imagery of the shuttle to look =
for signs of damage.

  A detailed status report covering NASA's ongoing work to develop an =
on-orbit tile repair capability was posted on this page June 20. Here is =
the text of today's interim recommendation from the CAIB:


    Recommendation Three:

      a.. Before return to flight, for missions to the International =
Space Station (ISS,) develop a practicable capability to inspect and =
effect emergency repairs to the widest possible range of damage to the =
Thermal Protection System (TPS,) including both tile and Reinforced =
Carbon Carbon (RCC,) taking advantage of the additional capabilities =
available while in proximity to and docked at the ISS.

      b.. Before return to flight, for non-station missions, develop a =
comprehensive autonomous (independent of station) inspection and repair =
capability to cover the widest practicable range of damage scenarios.

      c.. An on-orbit TPS inspection should be accomplished early on all =
missions, using appropriate assets and capabilities.

      d.. The ultimate objective should be a fully autonomous capability =
for all missions, to address the possibility that an ISS mission does =
not achieve the necessary orbit, fails to dock successfully, or suffers =
damage during or after undocking.

    Facts:

      a.. At present there is no certified on-orbit or on-station =
capability to inspect the orbiter TPS for damage, or to effect repairs.

      b.. Past efforts, some predating STS-1, have not resulted in an =
operational capacity.

      c.. Changes in imaging and inspection capabilities, materials =
technology, and the access provided by the ISS have greatly improved the =
prospects for deploying this capability.

    Finding:
    An inspection of the TPS, accomplished as soon as possible after =
achieving orbit/rendezvous, coupled with repair capability, would result =
in improved safety.

    Background:

    The Board is convinced of the necessity of taking all practicable =
steps to =D2de-couple=D3 foam insulation shedding from loss of crew and =
vehicle, including: 1) design improvements to prevent foam shedding; 2) =
toughening the TPS; 3) improved TPS inspection and repair capability.

    An inspection and repair capability is fundamental to improving the =
ability of the orbiter to experience TPS damage without catastrophic =
consequences.

    This effort does not reduce the urgency or importance of =
aggressively reducing all sources of potential damage to the orbiter. =
Only by reducing the likelihood of damage to the orbiter, as well as =
developing the ability to detect and repair damage, can the maximum =
safety improvement be realized.

    During the STS-107 flight and investigation, the lack of repair =
capability was cited repeatedly, and may have been a factor in decisions =
made during the STS-107 mission, including the decision not to seek =
images which might have assisted in the assessment of damage resulting =
from the foam strike on ascent.

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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>12:15 p.m., 06/27/03, Update: CAIB issues interim recommendation =
for=20
development of on-orbit tile/RCC repair capability</B>=20
<BLOCKQUOTE>As expected, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board today =

  released an interim recommendation requiring NASA to develop a =
capability to=20
  inspect the shuttle's heat shield system in orbit and to repair any=20
  significant damage that might be found.
  <P>The recommendation is the third issued by the CAIB in advance of =
its final=20
  report, expected around July 23, to give NASA as much time as possible =
to=20
  respond and to minimize the downtime before shuttle flights can =
resume. Two=20
  other preliminary recommendations were released April 17. One requires =
NASA to=20
  develop tools for evaluating the strength and integrity of heat-shield =
tiles=20
  and leading edge panels and the other requires NASA to obtain routine =
on-orbit=20
  imagery of the shuttle to look for signs of damage.</P>
  <P>A detailed status report covering NASA's ongoing work to develop an =

  on-orbit tile repair capability was posted on this page June 20. Here =
is the=20
  text of today's interim recommendation from the CAIB:</P>
  <P></P>
  <BLOCKQUOTE><B>Recommendation Three:</B>
    <P></P>
    <UL>
      <LI>Before return to flight, for missions to the International =
Space=20
      Station (ISS,) develop a practicable capability to inspect and =
effect=20
      emergency repairs to the widest possible range of damage to the =
Thermal=20
      Protection System (TPS,) including both tile and Reinforced Carbon =
Carbon=20
      (RCC,) taking advantage of the additional capabilities available =
while in=20
      proximity to and docked at the ISS.
      <P></P></LI>
      <LI>Before return to flight, for non-station missions, develop a=20
      comprehensive autonomous (independent of station) inspection and =
repair=20
      capability to cover the widest practicable range of damage =
scenarios.
      <P></P></LI>
      <LI>An on-orbit TPS inspection should be accomplished early on all =

      missions, using appropriate assets and capabilities.
      <P></P></LI>
      <LI>The ultimate objective should be a fully autonomous capability =
for all=20
      missions, to address the possibility that an ISS mission does not =
achieve=20
      the necessary orbit, fails to dock successfully, or suffers damage =
during=20
      or after undocking.
      <P></P></LI></UL><B>Facts:</B>
    <P></P>
    <UL>
      <LI>At present there is no certified on-orbit or on-station =
capability to=20
      inspect the orbiter TPS for damage, or to effect repairs.
      <P></P></LI>
      <LI>Past efforts, some predating STS-1, have not resulted in an=20
      operational capacity.
      <P></P></LI>
      <LI>Changes in imaging and inspection capabilities, materials =
technology,=20
      and the access provided by the ISS have greatly improved the =
prospects for=20
      deploying this capability.
      <P></P></LI></UL><B>Finding:</B>
    <P>An inspection of the TPS, accomplished as soon as possible after=20
    achieving orbit/rendezvous, coupled with repair capability, would =
result in=20
    improved safety.</P>
    <P><B>Background:</B></P>
    <P>The Board is convinced of the necessity of taking all practicable =
steps=20
    to =D2de-couple=D3 foam insulation shedding from loss of crew and =
vehicle,=20
    including: 1) design improvements to prevent foam shedding; 2) =
toughening=20
    the TPS; 3) improved TPS inspection and repair capability.</P>
    <P>An inspection and repair capability is fundamental to improving =
the=20
    ability of the orbiter to experience TPS damage without catastrophic =

    consequences.</P>
    <P>This effort does not reduce the urgency or importance of =
aggressively=20
    reducing all sources of potential damage to the orbiter. Only by =
reducing=20
    the likelihood of damage to the orbiter, as well as developing the =
ability=20
    to detect and repair damage, can the maximum safety improvement be=20
    realized.</P>
    <P>During the STS-107 flight and investigation, the lack of repair=20
    capability was cited repeatedly, and may have been a factor in =
decisions=20
    made during the STS-107 mission, including the decision not to seek =
images=20
    which might have assisted in the assessment of damage resulting from =
the=20
    foam strike on=20
ascent.</P></BLOCKQUOTE></BLOCKQUOTE></LI></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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