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STS-107 MCC Status Report #26



Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

STS-107 MCC Status Report #26 
Monday, February 10, 2003 - 6 p.m. CST 
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas 

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe reported today approximately 12,000
pieces of debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia have been collected
along a 500-mile swath between Ft. Worth, Texas, and the Louisiana-Texas
border. The debris is being tagged for identification and transported to
the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., for use in the on-going
investigation. 

There is no primary or favorite theory as to what caused the Feb. 1
Shuttle accident. Fault-tree analysis and Probability Risk Assessments
continue to be important tools to ensure no possible cause is overlooked.
NASA's focus is on helping to determine the cause of the accident,
finding solutions to the problems, and returning to safe flight
operations as soon as possible. 

A section of reinforced carbon-carbon from the leading edge of a Shuttle
wing was recovered. It is believed to be from the left wing. Teams
continue to search for and collect debris. The first pieces of debris are
expected to begin the 18-hour journey by truck from Barksdale AFB to KSC
on Tuesday and arrive on Wednesday. 

Administrator O'Keefe said that NASA has done its best to be open and
forthcoming with information about the accident investigation, and that
it is time to transition that responsibility to the independent Columbia
Accident Investigation Board (CAIB). NASA will continue to release
information periodically as appropriate as it becomes available. "We will
defer to the CAIB to set the pace of discussions of how the investigation
itself is progressing," O'Keefe said. He added that the Board will advise
NASA when the data and hardware that has been impounded will be released
for continued Shuttle operations. 

"We intend to fully support and ensure the Board has independence and
objectivity to proceed as its members feel appropriate," Administrator
O'Keefe said. "We will defer to the CAIB to set the pace of discussions
of how the investigation is progressing." 

O'Keefe said that the NASA Inspector General has been an observer on the
ground from the beginning, helping to ensure the independence and
objectivity of the CAIB under the terms of the Inspector General Act. 

O'Keefe added that he intends to release the CAIB's recommendations to
the public as soon as they are available. "It is our responsibility to
make that informed judgment public," he said, explaining that the scope
and breadth of the Board members' experience in aircraft and other types
of accidents is more than NASA could bring to bear on the investigation. 

The CAIB will conduct its first press conference at 3 p.m. EST Tuesday,
Feb. 11, in Teague Auditorium at the Johnson Space Center, Houston. Board
Chairman Harold W. Gehman Jr., will introduce CAIB members and discuss
Board structure, activities, and plans for the investigation. 

The Expedition 6 crew aboard the International Space Station continued to
unpack supplies delivered aboard the Progress-10 resupply ship and to
prepare for a 6:34 a.m. EST Tuesday re-boost of the station using the
Progress thrusters. The re-boost will last about 22 minutes and increase
the Station's orbit approximately 7 miles. 

Commander Ken Bowersox, Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin and NASA Station
Science Officer Don Pettit will field questions from reporters during a
news conference starting at 9:34 a.m. EST, Tuesday. The news conference
will be broadcast on NASA Television with two-way question and answer
capability from reporters at NASA centers. 

While Shuttle missions are on indefinite hold, there is no urgency to
adjust plans regarding the late April launch of a new Russian Soyuz TMA
spacecraft or the makeup of its crew. Supplies on the Station are
sufficient through June. There are enough propellants on board to
maintain the Station's altitude and attitude for a year. Options are
being considered with the International Partners to keep the station
manned, safe and productive. "First we need to keep the crew safe," said
Michael Kostelnik, Deputy Associate Administrator for International Space
Station and Space Shuttle, "and second, is to keep the Station safe." 

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

For more information about NASA on the Internet: 

www.nasa.gov 

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