NASA Columbia Accident Support Activities Reorganized
Johnson Space Center, Houston
|March 21, 2003
NASA has reorganized its support of Shuttle accident related activities
to better accommodate the investigation and align more closely with
the structure adopted by the independent Columbia Accident Investigation
NASA's Mishap Response Team, formed immediately after the Columbia
accident as stipulated in contingency plans, completed its short-term
response function. NASA accident-related activities supporting the
CAIB will transition to a newly formed NASA Accident Investigation
Team (NAIT). The NAIT has three subdivisions, which match the major
elements of the CAIB.
Portrait of Johnson Space Center Deputy Directory
Stone, deputy director of the Johnson Space Center (JSC), will chair
the NAIT. Stone will also manage the subdivision related to flight
operations, such as Mission Control, flight planning and crew training
functions. Frank Benz, director of engineering at JSC, will manage
activities related to engineering and technology, such as debris,
imagery and fault tree analyses. Jim Kennedy, deputy director of
the Kennedy Space Center, will manage activities related to materials,
such as vendors, maintenance, internal processes and program management.
"The Mishap Response Team met for the first time within two
hours of the Columbia accident, and its demanding work has been
highly efficient, methodical and productive," Stone said. "They
have done a tremendous job under extremely difficult circumstances.
Now, many of the initial mishap response activities are nearing
their close, and it is time for NASA's accident support structure
to transition to an organization designed to provide long term investigation
support," he said.
Among mishap response activities nearing completion over the next
four to six weeks is the organized debris search and recovery effort
that has been under way in east Texas. Most of the organized search
effort should be completed around May 1, 2003, weather permitting.
Other activities coming to a close include NASA's Emergency Operations
Center, which assisted in fielding thousands of calls about the
accident and received almost 7,000 images from sources external
The final Mishap Response Team meeting was held today. The NAIT
will convene for the first time Monday, March 24. NASA's Columbia
Task Force, directed by Frank Buzzard, will continue to facilitate
the interface between the CAIB and NASA support activities.
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