Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
•A national commitment to manned space flight
• Adequate funding of NASA's safety system to ensure a higher level of reliability
• Creation of a new overall safety program
•Development of an orbital space plane to replace the shuttle

(CNN) -- A space agency bureaucracy compromised by lax safety standards, slipshod management and dwindling funds were a major culprit in the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and its crew, an independent investigation panel concluded Tuesday.

Following a painstaking, seven-month examination, the final report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board said that the U.S. space agency had done little to improve shuttle safety since it lost the shuttle Challenger in 1986.

"NASA's organizational culture had as much to do with this accident as foam did," the report said, referring to debris from an external fuel tank that struck and damaged Columbia soon after launch on January 16.

The board offered dozens of recommendations before the shuttle program returns to flight. Without major changes, the panel warned, NASA risks losing another one of its remaining three shuttles.

"If we thought the shuttle was unsafe, we would have said so. Now, that is not to say, there are not a lot of things they need to do to improve the safety of the shuttle," retired Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., the board chairman, told reporters Tuesday.

"But if we thought this shuttle was just inherently unsafe, we would have said so." (Gehman transcript)

NASA would like to return the shuttles to flight as early as the spring of 2004, primarily to send crews and equipment to the international space station.

Organizational flaws at NASA cited

Among the organizational cultural traits that contributed to the loss, according to the 248-page Gehman report:

• Reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices.

• Organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion

• The evolution of an informal chain of command of decision-making progresses that operated outside the organization's rules.

The February 1 disaster, which took place shortly before the shuttle was to land, claimed the lives of seven astronauts.

Minutes before the orbiter broke apart over Texas, it developed serious trouble in its left wing, the same one struck 16 days earlier by a piece of launch debris seconds after liftoff.

After conducting countless tests, interviews, and debris and data reconstructions, the board concluded Tuesday that the foam was indeed to blame. It ripped a hole in the left wing, which during re-entry allowed superheated gases into the wing interior, where they melted the wing frame, investigators said.

The day after launch, shuttle managers became aware of the foam strike, but a computer analysis done by an independent contractor predicted little flight risk, and NASA decided not to request satellite or ground-based pictures to assess possible damage.

Despite top shuttle management determination that there was no danger, low-level engineers fretted during the two-week mission over whether the foam chunk, the largest known to strike a shuttle, could have fatally punctured Columbia, the oldest and heaviest shuttle in the fleet.

NASA chief vows to accept recommendations

CNN.com - Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss - Aug. 26, 2003 Skip to main content
CNN EditionScience & Space
The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Space Shuttle Columbia

Panel criticizes NASA culture for shuttle loss

Report offers blueprint for return to flight

By Richard Stenger
CNN

Shuttle Columbia during liftoff
Shuttle Columbia during liftoff

Story Tools

SPECIAL REPORT
•  Audio Slide Show: Shuttle lost
•  Timeline: Investigation
•  Gallery: New safety guidelines
•  Gallery: Columbia crew
•  Report: Findings, counsel
more video VIDEO
NASA chief: Agency 'just flat missed' importance of the foam strike during Columbia's liftoff.
premium content

A Columbia widower discusses the disaster report.
premium content
BOARD'S RECOMMENDATIONS
<