15 February 2003 - Saturday -
Two weeks have passed since the
tragic events of Feb 1st.
Debris continues to roll into KSC, to be laid out in a hangar for analysis.
What could have damaged the left wing? When did it happen? The
investigation is in progress.
Columbia Accident Board Chairman Names New Member
On Saturday, Adm. Hal Gehman, chairman of the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board, announced the appointment of Dr. Sheila E. Widnall as
the newest member of the board. Dr. Widnall, former Secretary of the Air
Force, is an expert in aircraft turbulence and spiraling airflows.
STS-107 Ground Track Charts
Maps of Columbia's ground track during re-entry with mission events
and sensor measurements.
Seeks Help from Sky Watchers
NASA is still seeking help from the American public to supply video
and still images of the Space Shuttle Columbia on its return flight to Earth.
No further STS-107-related
press events are scheduled to occur before Tuesday, Feb. 18. For videos
and transcripts of past Columbia press conferences and memorial services,
visit our ongoing
Columbia Coverage page.
Other Columbia information is available
on the NASA home page.
Check out NASA's
Interactive Columbia Tribute.
14 February 2003 - Friday - It is
something punched a
hole in Columbia's
on orbit, or during
descent, causing superheated
not feel that the loss of a
would be enough to cause the
Investigation Continues into Breakup of Columbia
the search for Space Shuttle Columbia debris continues, NASA working
groups and the independent Columbia Accident Investigation Board, or CAIB,
are poring over flight data that was downlinked by the orbiter during its
Preliminary analysis of the data indicates that plasma was present
in the vehicle's left wheel well during its final moments, the CAIB announced Thursday.
Plasma is a super-heated gas that surrounds the orbiter during re-entry.
CAIB said heat transfer through the structure, such as might be
caused by a missing tile, would not be sufficient to cause the temperature
indications seen in the last minutes of flight.
By analyzing other flight data -- including landing gear position
indicators and drag information -- the board also concluded that it is
unlikely the left landing gear was deployed early.
More than 2,500 federal, state and local employees continue to
search for orbiter debris in East Texas and Louisiana. Some of the recovered
pieces have already found their way to the primary investigation site at the
Kennedy Space Center, Fla., or KSC. The first two truckloads of debris arrived
at KSC on Wednesday.
search teams are looking for pieces along Columbia's
flight path west of Fort Worth. So far, no debris has been found farther
west than Granbury, Texas, about 64 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of
Fort Worth. Other teams -- including employees of the Environmental Protection
Agency, the Civil Air Patrol and the Federal Emergency Management Agency --
are searching east and south of Fort Worth.
U.S. Navy divers and equipment may also be brought in to search
the waters of area lakes, including Toledo Bend and the Sam Rayburn reservoir.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing debris enter those lakes on Feb. 1.
Statement by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board
By the way... Happy Valentines Day.
13 February 2003 - Thursday - Debris
recovered so far is making its way to a
finally on her way home. Also,
all seven crewmembers
Columbia Debris Arrives at KSC
than 2,500 federal, state and local employees continue to search for
Space Shuttle Columbia debris in East Texas and Louisiana. Some of the
recovered pieces have already found their way to the primary investigation
site at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., or KSC. The first two truckloads
of debris arrived at KSC on Wednesday.
Investigators are now working in the Reusable Launch Vehicle Hangar at KSC.
They will now begin the process of reconstructing Columbia, laying out the
pieces relative to one another as they were positioned on the shuttle.
of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, or
CAIB, conducted an orientation tour of KSC facilities Wednesday.
They viewed the processing locations currently holding NASA's three
remaining orbiters -- Atlantis, Endeavour and Discovery.
KSC officials briefed them about shuttle ground processing.
Also on Wednesday, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe addressed a
joint congressional hearing into the Columbia accident.
He responded to questions about the independence of the CAIB.
"The Board has taken over hardware and software releases
of NASA so that NASA cannot alter anything unless the Board approves.
NASA has already begun to honor document requests from the Board, and has
also supplied additional documents to the Board which were not requested
that we believe may be helpful to their work."
O'Keefe also talked about NASA's future.
"We have an opportunity here and now to learn
from this loss, and renew the boundless spirit of exploration present at
NASA's beginning. We will do this by being accountable to the American
people for our failings and, we hope, credible and compelling in pursuit
of research, exploration and inspiration for future generations."
Columbia Entry Flight Director Press Briefing
Cain, the flight director who oversaw the entry of the Space
Shuttle Columbia on Feb. 1, 2003, will hold a press conference Friday,
beginning at [3:30PM EST/2030 GMT].
Watch it live on NASA TV.
NASA TV Schedule
Did budget cuts
compromise safety? Did
Ilan Ramon see a "crack in the wing" during
Columbia's mission? (No! - See
what it really was here.)
Could a tire
blown out, damaging the
wheel well? Did a
NASA engineer have
concerns about the
Check his message
12 February 2003 - Wednesday - A
tire, possibly from
landing gear, have been
found. Wreckage that has been
recovered so far is
its way to KSC.
Columbia Debris Recovery Continues
The first two truckloads of Space Shuttle Columbia debris were expected to
arrive at Kennedy Space Center, Fla., or KSC, on Wednesday. They departed
from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Tuesday. Search teams have recovered
more than 1,600 pieces of debris so far, tagging them for identification
and delivering them to field collection sites in East Texas. The collected
items are then loaded onto trucks and transported to KSC -- Columbia's
intended destination on Feb. 1 when it broke up in the skies over Texas.
Some of the
accident investigators are working at the collection sites, while others
are already at KSC, analyzing the recovered pieces to determine a cause
for the accident.
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced Monday that future
information about the Space Shuttle Columbia accident will be released at
a pace directed by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, or CAIB.
NASA will continue to release information periodically as it becomes available,
but "we will defer to the CAIB to set the pace of discussions of how the
investigation itself is progressing," O'Keefe said.
NASA's role in the investigation is to help determine the cause
of the accident, find solutions to the problem and return to safe flight
operations as soon as possible.
letters from the STS-107 families and the spouses and children of the NASA Astronaut Corps.
Today, there will be a Joint
congressional hearing into the
Columbia accident at 9:30AM EST
(1430 GMT). More
interviews with with the
ISS crew starting at 10:30AM EST (1530 GMT).
Watch live on NASA TV.
10 February 2003 - Monday - The
why Columbia broke up on reentry is
ongoing. Could a
ice from the wastewater vent have broken off and damaged the tiles while in
orbit? Could Columbia have been hit by a piece of space junk or a
micrometeorite? Did a crewmember email
safety concerns to
their family during the flight? The debris recovered so far is
its way to KSC, but it will be impossible to reassemble it (like they
did for TWA Flight 800) because the pieces are too deformed.
Release of Columbia Information Transitions to Board
During a news conference Monday, NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe announced
that future information about the Space Shuttle Columbia accident will be
released at a pace directed by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board,
or CAIB. NASA will continue to release information periodically as it
becomes available, but "we will defer to the CAIB to set the pace of
discussions of how the investigation itself is progressing," O'Keefe said.
to fully support and ensure the Board has independence and objectivity to
proceed as its members feel appropriate," Administrator O'Keefe said.
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.
NASA's role in the investigation is to help determine the cause of the accident, find
solutions to the problem and return to safe flight operations as soon as
Debris collection continues in East Texas. Approximately 12,000 pieces have been
found so far. Search teams are tagging the debris and delivering it to
Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The first truckload of debris is expected to
depart Barksdale today, bound for the Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
Investigators there will analyze the recovered pieces, hoping to determine
the cause of the accident.
The CAIB, led by retired Navy Adm. Harold Gehman Jr., will conduct its first press conference Tuesday at
[3PM EST/2000 GMT). Watch it live on NASA TV.
NASA TV Schedule
Download Shuttle memorial
wallpaper for your computer.
Next NASA News Briefing today at 3PM EST (2000 GMT Monday).
Tuesday: Press Conference with
ISS crew at 9:34AM EST (1434 GMT).
First News Briefing with
CAIB at 3PM EST (2000 GMT).
Watch live on NASA TV.