[FPSPACE] NASA compliancetrends to CAIB recommendations "uneven".....from the New York Times

Peter Pesavento eagle267@svol.net
Wed, 28 Jan 2004 16:19:03 -0500


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=20
January 28, 2004
NASA Says It Is Progressing on Fall Shuttle Launching
By WARREN E. LEARY
    =20
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 - Despite uncertainties about how NASA will comply =
with some requirements for returning the shuttle fleet to space, =
officials of the agency said Tuesday that they were making enough =
progress to stick to a tentative launching date of September or October.

Michael C. Kostelnik, the agency's deputy associate administrator for =
the shuttle and space station programs, said engineers with the National =
Aeronautics and Space Administration were performing extensive work in =
redesigning shuttle systems and procedures to comply with =
recommendations of the board that investigated the Columbia accident.

Work is progressing in areas like redesigning the fuel tank to prevent =
it from shedding debris at liftoff and techniques to repair damage in =
space, but those efforts take time, officials said.

"We'd like to be further along, given a target in September," Mr. =
Kostelnik said. "But we are still progressing."

Last week, an advisory panel appointed by NASA said in an interim report =
that the agency was making uneven progress in complying with 15 =
recommendations that must be met before shuttles fly again. The panel, =
whose chairmen are two retired astronauts, Thomas P. Stafford and =
Richard O. Covey, said that many details for complying with the =
recommendations had not been worked out and that the progress being made =
"should not be mistaken for accomplishment."

Mr. Kostelnik said that much of the planning for modifications should be =
completed in a couple of months and that the agency should have some =
solid answers on what it would do, and when, by March or April.

"A lot of people are impatient to know where we are," he said about a =
fall launching. "Right now, there is not a showstopper that says we =
can't get there."

William F. Readdy, associate administrator for spaceflight, said that =
the time since the loss of the Columbia and its crew on Feb. 1 had been =
difficult for the agency, but that it had learned from its mistakes.

"It's been a tough year, it's been a hard year, a year of lessons," Mr. =
Readdy said. "We're about fixing the problems right now and returning to =
flying safely again."=20

When the next shuttle does take off, he added, "that will be the safest =
mission we have ever flown."

Mr. Readdy said NASA was in the midst of extensive changes in light of =
President Bush's charge to retire the shuttle by 2010 and develop new =
vehicles to take humans to the Moon and, later, Mars. The shuttle =
Service Life Extension Program, which had been developing ways to keep =
the shuttles flying until 2020, is due for extensive modification that =
will de-emphasize long-term investments that may not be needed now, =
officials said.

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<H5>January 28, 2004</H5><NYT_HEADLINE type=3D" " =
version=3D"1.0"></NYT_HEADLINE>
<H2>NASA Says It Is Progressing on Fall Shuttle =
Launching</H2><NYT_BYLINE=20
type=3D" " version=3D"1.0"><FONT size=3D-1><STRONG>By WARREN E.=20
LEARY</STRONG></FONT><BR></NYT_BYLINE>
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<P>W<IMG height=3D33 alt=3DW =
src=3D"http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/w.gif"=20
width=3D46 align=3Dleft border=3D0>ASHINGTON, Jan. 27 =97 Despite =
uncertainties about=20
how NASA will comply with some requirements for returning the shuttle =
fleet to=20
space, officials of the agency said Tuesday that they were making enough =

progress to stick to a tentative launching date of September or =
October.</P>
<P>Michael C. Kostelnik, the agency's deputy associate administrator for =
the=20
shuttle and space station programs, said engineers with the National =
Aeronautics=20
and Space Administration were performing extensive work in redesigning =
shuttle=20
systems and procedures to comply with recommendations of the board that=20
investigated the Columbia accident.</P>
<P>Work is progressing in areas like redesigning the fuel tank to =
prevent it=20
from shedding debris at liftoff and techniques to repair damage in =
space, but=20
those efforts take time, officials said.</P>
<P>"We'd like to be further along, given a target in September," Mr. =
Kostelnik=20
said. "But we are still progressing."</P>
<P>Last week, an advisory panel appointed by NASA said in an interim =
report that=20
the agency was making uneven progress in complying with 15 =
recommendations that=20
must be met before shuttles fly again. The panel, whose chairmen are two =
retired=20
astronauts, Thomas P. Stafford and Richard O. Covey, said that many =
details for=20
complying with the recommendations had not been worked out and that the =
progress=20
being made "should not be mistaken for accomplishment."</P>
<P>Mr. Kostelnik said that much of the planning for modifications should =
be=20
completed in a couple of months and that the agency should have some =
solid=20
answers on what it would do, and when, by March or April.</P>
<P>"A lot of people are impatient to know where we are," he said about a =
fall=20
launching. "Right now, there is not a showstopper that says we can't get =

there."</P>
<P>William F. Readdy, associate administrator for spaceflight, said that =
the=20
time since the loss of the Columbia and its crew on Feb. 1 had been =
difficult=20
for the agency, but that it had learned from its mistakes.</P>
<P>"It's been a tough year, it's been a hard year, a year of lessons," =
Mr.=20
Readdy said. "We're about fixing the problems right now and returning to =
flying=20
safely again." </P>
<P>When the next shuttle does take off, he added, "that will be the =
safest=20
mission we have ever flown."</P>
<P>Mr. Readdy said NASA was in the midst of extensive changes in light =
of=20
<ALT-CODE value=3D"Bush, George W" idsrc=3D"nyt-per-pol">President =
Bush's charge to=20
retire the shuttle by 2010 and develop new vehicles to take humans to =
the Moon=20
and, later, Mars. The shuttle Service Life Extension Program, which had =
been=20
developing ways to keep the shuttles flying until 2020, is due for =
extensive=20
modification that will de-emphasize long-term investments that may not =
be needed=20
now, officials said.</ALT-CODE></P></FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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