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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington               July 15, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-1898/1600)

Marny Skora
Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
(Phone: 757/864-6121)

RELEASE: 03-239


     NASA today announced plans to create an independent 
Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) at the agency's Langley 
Research Center in Hampton, Va., to provide comprehensive 
examination of all NASA programs and projects. The center 
will provide a central location to coordinate and conduct 
robust engineering and safety assessment across the entire 

"Among the things we've learned during the investigation of 
the Columbia tragedy is the need to independently verify our 
engineering and safety standards. The new NASA Engineering 
and Safety center will have the capacity and authority to 
have direct operational influence on any agency mission," 
said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. "When it comes to 
safety and engineering analysis, we need to improve our 
ability to share technical information, practices and talent, 
and independently ensure we are in the best position to 
achieve mission success."

The NESC is expected to draw on the talents of about 250 
people throughout NASA and will report to former astronaut 
General Roy Bridges, Langley Center Director. Bryan O'Connor, 
also a former astronaut and Associate Administrator for the 
Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters 
in Washington, will have policy responsibility for the 
organization. O'Connor's task will be to assure the effective 
use of all agency assets and expertise to derive the 
independent assessments.

"As we move forward with our 'Return to Flight' efforts, the 
development and implementation of the NESC will help us focus 
on the future of our technical and safety imperatives," said 
O'Connor. "We have a responsibility to make our programs as 
safe and as sound as possible. This project raises our 
commitment to unprecedented levels."

Planned activities of the new organization include:
* Independent engineering assessment and testing to support 
critical NASA projects and programs
* Engineering and safety review and evaluation through 
independent analysis, hazard and risk assessment, safety 
audit, and participation in mishap investigations
* A central location for independent trend analysis utilizing 
state-of-the-art tools and techniques
* A structure to support engineering collaboration for 
problem resolution
* Central coordination of engineering and programmatic 
lessons learned, technical standards, and technical 
discipline expertise
* Independent inspection and validation of activities to 
ensure the constant maintenance of NASA safety standards

"We need to go further than what we expect to see in the 
findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board 
(CAIB)," added Dr. Michael Greenfield, Associate Deputy 
Administrator for Technical Programs at NASA Headquarters in 
Washington. Greenfield co-chairs the agency's Return to 
Flight Team with Associate Administrator for Space Flight 
William F. Readdy. "We need to look beyond the CAIB and 
provide a centralized clearinghouse that provides NASA with 
authoritative and consolidated analysis and assessment for 
all of the agency's high-risk endeavors," Greenfield 

Additional information about NASA and Langley is available on 
the Internet at:




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