[meteorite-list] NASA Mission Control Center Status Report - February 5, 2003

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:18:25 2004
Message-ID: <200302060213.SAA17222_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>

Glenn Mahone/Robert Mirelson
Headquarters, Washington Feb. 5, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1600)

RELEASE: 03-055


     The search for clues about what caused Columbia's
breakup during reentry Saturday, and the hunt for key debris
from the orbiter, expanded today with recovery teams
deployed in California and Arizona.

Four days after Columbia broke apart 16 minutes prior to
landing, Space Shuttle Program Manager Ron Dittemore said
the inquiry into the cause for Columbia's demise is "picking
up speed". But Dittemore said efforts to draw any new
information from an additional 32 seconds of data acquired
by ground computers following the loss of voice
communications with Columbia have so far been unsuccessful.

In a briefing, Dittemore said the engineering evaluation
teams are focusing their attention on "something other" than
insulating foam on Columbia's external tank that fell off 80
seconds after launch striking the left wing, as the reason
for the accident.

"It does not make sense that a piece of (foam) debris caused
the loss of Columbia and its crew," Dittemore added. He
reiterated Columbia tried to compensate for increased drag
on its left wing in the seconds prior to its breakup, firing
steering jets to right itself. But Dittemore said of
Columbia, "It was doing well, but it was losing the battle."

As the engineering analysis continued, the remains of
Columbia's astronauts were flown to Dover Air Force Base,
Delaware, where identification of the astronauts will be
completed. At the conclusion of the forensic analysis, the
remains will be released to the families for burial.

Dittemore mentioned that three reports dealing with Space
Shuttle thermal protection tiles were available for review
by the news media. Two of those documents are available via
the Internet. The third is available in hardcopy from the
JSC newsroom. The titles and website addresses for that
information are:





In an earlier briefing, Michael Kostelnik, NASA's Associate
Administrator for International Space Station and Space
Shuttle, said the recovery operations are moving ahead "full
steam", involving 2500 people nationwide from federal and
local agencies. Kostelnik said NASA has added a task force
to integrate the work between numerous engineering teams
that are reviewing over Columbia's data and the Columbia
Accident Review board, chaired by retired Navy Admiral
Harold Gehman, Jr.

Kostelnik said that although a relatively small percentage
of Shuttle debris has been recovered so far, segments of
large components such as Columbia's nose cone and main
engines have been found. The focus of the recovery effort
and the data analysis, according to Kostelnik, continues to
be Columbia's left wing area, although no element of the
orbiter has been exonerated in the ongoing inquiry.

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 6
Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and
NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit spent the day unloading
the Russian Progress resupply ship that docked to the ISS
Tuesday, carrying one ton of food, fuel and supplies.

Pettit unstowed replacement parts for the Microgravity
Science Glovebox from the Progress and installed them in the
facility in the Destiny laboratory in an effort to revive
the Glovebox that has been dormant since November following
a power failure.

Pettit powered up the Glovebox, but a circuit breaker in the
system popped and payload controllers told Pettit to shut it
down so they can evaluate its current status.

On Thursday, NASA Television will broadcast a memorial
ceremony for Columbia's astronauts from National Cathedral
in Washington, D.C. at 10:00 a.m. EST.

The next STS-107 Accident Response briefing will be held on
Thursday at 4:30 p.m. EST from the Johnson Space Center,
Houston, also on NASA TV, with multi-center question and
answer capability for reporters at NASA centers.

NASA TV is on AMC-2, Transponder 9C, vertical polarization
at 85 degrees west longitude, 3880 MHz, with audio at 6.8

Received on Wed 05 Feb 2003 09:13:40 PM PST

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