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Submitted by Arthur - N1ORC

Glenn Mahone/Bob Jacobs
Headquarters, Washington                  August 26, 2003
(Phone: 358-1898/1600)

RELEASE: 03-276


     This morning, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe received 
the report of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board 
(CAIB) from the chairman, retired U.S. Navy Admiral Harold 
Gehman. The following is a statement from the NASA 
Administrator regarding the CAIB report.

"On the day of the Columbia tragedy, NASA committed to the 
families of STS-107's crew that we would find the problems 
that caused this horrible accident, fix them, and return to 
the exploration objectives their loved ones dedicated their 
lives to. Today, we have completed the first phase of that 
important commitment.

"This morning, Admiral Hal Gehman presented the findings and 
recommendations of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. 
The members have established what they believe to be the 
probable cause of the accident and the factors that 
contributed to the tragic loss of Columbia and her courageous 

"I want to express NASA's appreciation for the Board's 
report, which is timely, thorough, and direct. The efforts of 
all concerned with the investigation will help NASA improve 
the Space Shuttle program, our management processes, and our 
capability to safely return to flight.

"The findings and recommendations of the Columbia Accident 
Investigation Board will serve as NASA's blueprint. We have 
accepted the findings and will comply with the 
recommendations to the best of our ability. The Board has 
provided NASA with an important road map, as we determine 
when we will be 'Fit to Fly' again.

"Due to the comprehensive, timely and open public 
communication displayed by the Board throughout the 
investigative process, we already have begun to take action 
on the earlier issued recommendations, and we intend to 
comply with the full range of recommendations released today.

"Our 'Return to Flight' efforts are being led by NASA's 
Associate Administrator for Space Flight, William Readdy, and 
our Associate Deputy Administrator for Technical Programs, 
Dr. Michael Greenfield. They will work closely with the 
independent Return to Flight Task Group, led by retired U.S. 
Air Force Lieutenant General and former Apollo commander 
Thomas P. Stafford and former Space Shuttle commander Richard 
O. Covey. The 'Stafford-Covey Task Group' will independently 
assess every action NASA takes, as we return to flight 

"As an important step to change the culture of the agency, we 
have created the NASA Engineering Safety Center (NESC) at the 
agency's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., to provide 
comprehensive examination of all NASA programs and projects. 
The NESC will provide a central location to coordinate and 
conduct robust engineering and safety assessment across the 
entire agency. The NESC will play a key role in ensuring we 
return to flight safely and sustain a high level of 
engineering and safety excellence for every NASA program.

"The independent Columbia Accident Investigation Board 
performed an important service for the Nation, for NASA, and 
for the dedicated families of Columbia's crew. The Board 
members conducted a thorough and comprehensive review of the 
mission and the entire Space Shuttle program. The Board's 
efforts to perform a timely and a complete investigation into 
the technological, engineering, managerial, and human aspects 
that contributed to the accident are nothing short of heroic 
in nature. We are grateful for their dedication."

For information about NASA's return to flight efforts on the 
Internet, visit:


To review Columbia Accident Investigation Board 
recommendations on the Internet, visit:



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