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STS-107 MCC Status Report #27

Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

STS-107 MCC Status Report #27 
Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 2 p.m. CST 
Mission Control Center, Houston, Texas 

STS-107 Mishap Response Status Report #1 Columbia debris recovery efforts
continued today centered in areas of eastern Texas and western Louisiana.
More than 1,600 recovered items are at Barksdale Air Force Base,
Shreveport, La. Barksdale is the central field collection point for
debris being shipped to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Fla., to begin
Shuttle Columbia reconstruction. 

In addition, more than 300 items are at each of the field collection
sites in Lufkin, Palestine and San Augustine, Texas, awaiting shipment to
Barksdale. A smaller volume is at Carswell Naval Air Station in Fort
Worth, Texas. Shipments of debris from Barksdale AFB to KSC begin this
week. Two truckloads of items departed Louisiana en-route to KSC today. 

No confirmed debris has been recovered west of the Fort Worth area. Teams
continue to investigate reports from 27 states and eight jurisdictions
outside of the U.S. Of 179 reports received from California, 105 have
been closed. Of 162 reports in Arizona, eight have been closed. Of 12
reports in New Mexico, four have been closed. 

To assist recovery efforts, searchers are using Civil Air Patrol
volunteers, airborne radar and other assets. U.S. Navy assets also may be
used to search the waters of Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn reservoirs due
to several eyewitness reports of debris entering those lakes. The search
may continue for several weeks. Civil Air Patrol volunteers also are
searching west of the Fort Worth area in regions along Columbia's flight

Preliminary identification of some debris reported by the Mishap
Investigation Team included a roughly two-foot square section of an
external tank umbilical door, a hydrazine propellant tank and electronics
equipment from the Ku-band communications system. The Ku-band
communications debris was erroneously identified yesterday as one of
Columbia's five flight control computers, known as General Purpose
Computers (GPCs). No GPCs have been identified among recovered items. All
identifications of items are preliminary. 

On the International Space Station, Expedition Six Commander Ken
Bowersox, NASA Station Science Officer Don Pettit and Flight Engineer
Nikolai Budarin took time out from unpacking items delivered by a
Progress-10 Russian supply craft for their first news conference since
the Columbia accident. The conference took place about three hours after
the Progress' thrusters boosted the altitude of the station approximately
6.5 miles to an orbit of 240 x 255 miles. 

Bowersox said the crew first heard of the loss of Columbia from Johnson
Space Center Director Jefferson Howell, and the crew is being kept
apprised of the status of the accident investigation. 

"My first reaction was pure shock," Bowersox said. "I was numb, and it
was hard to believe that what we were experiencing was really happening.
And then as reality wore on, we were able to feel some sadness." 

Bowersox said Mission Control has reduced the crew's schedule to allow
time for grief and reflection, and the crew was provided ample
opportunity for communication with families for emotional support. 

"We've had time to grieve for our friends, and that was very important.
When you're up here this long, you can't just bottle up your emotions and
focus all of the time," Bowersox said. "It's important for us to
acknowledge that the people on STS-107 were our friends, that we had a
connection with them, and that we feel their loss, and each of us had a
chance to shed some tears. But now, it's time to move forward and we're
doing that slowly," he said. 

Bowersox and Pettit said they have told Mission Control they are willing
to stay in orbit for a year or more if necessary, and they would consider
the extra time a bonus, not a hardship. They said that if it were decided
that a two-person crew should relieve them, that crew would be kept busy
maintaining station systems but could still perform useful research. 

"There would be time to do some level of research, and by virtue of
having people here, you are always doing research on your body itself,
looking at the effects of long duration, weightlessness on the human
physiology," Pettit said. "So it's important to keep people on Station.
If we could continue to collect data and life science data in data sets
for 10 or 15 year periods, it may actually turn out to be one of the more
valuable data sets we get," he said. 

The Expedition Six crew will conduct additional interviews with ABC, CNN
and NBC starting at 9:30 a.m. CST Wednesday. The interviews will be
broadcast live on NASA Television. 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: 


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