Columbia Investigation  

Columbia Investigation Journal - Part 5

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The hangar at KSC where Columbia debris is being assembled. Image: NASA.
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LEFT: The hangar at KSC where Columbia debris is being assembled. Image: NASA.

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  • 25 April - Friday - FEMA will cede debris-search operations to NASA next week. NASA reports:

    NASA to Take Charge of Columbia Search Operations
    On April 30, NASA will become responsible for managing Space Shuttle Columbia debris search operations for East Texas, Utah, New Mexico and Nevada. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been in charge of search operations since Columbia and its crew were lost Feb. 1. The space agency will also establish a Columbia Recovery Office at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.
    As of April 24, ground recovery teams had searched 640,500 acres (1,000 square miles), which is 92 percent of the assigned acres, and the teams have spent 1.4 million hours in the field. The search has yielded 37,330 kilograms (82,300 pounds) of debris, equaling about 37 percent of the orbiter's weight.
    East Texas base camps in Palestine and Hemphill are now closed, and the camps in Nacogdoches and Corsicana are expected to close in early May. So far, no confirmed Columbia debris has been recovered west of Littlefield, Texas, and east of Fort Polk, La.
    Thursday, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board announced that it met with the NASA Accident Investigation Team, or NAIT. During the meeting, the board, which is also known as CAIB, was given the latest analyses of the Orbiter Experiments recorder data and debris.
    The CAIB then provided guidelines for the NAIT to focus their efforts. Those areas are aerothermal analysis, foam impact testing, testing of flown reinforced carbon carbon panels and metallurgical analysis of Columbia debris.

    Stay Tuned...

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