Shuttle News: June 2005 Archives

NASA Says Shuttle Should Be Ready on July 13, Washington Post

"NASA Administrator Michael D. Griffin said yesterday that the space shuttle should be ready for launch July 13 despite the agency's failure to fully comply with safety recommendations made in the aftermath of the Columbia disaster."

Despite Concerns, NASA Is Planning to Go Ahead With Shuttle Launching, NY Times

"On Capitol Hill yesterday, Dr. Griffin told lawmakers that the board's recommendation were "admirable goals," but that "we have reduced the level of risk due to debris damage to an acceptable level." That is a different tone than had been expressed by Dr. Griffin's predecessor, Sean O'Keefe. Before he retired this year, Mr. O'Keefe repeatedly said NASA would, as he put it in June 2003, "comply fully without any equivocation" with the recommendations."

Mike Griffin Reveals His Commercialization Vision for NASA: Part 2, SpaceRef

"The CAIB recommendations in their full scope are recommendations and they are not all implementable." ... "So, unless someone walks in with the magic recipe some time in the next few days, we're going to have to sign up to launch Discovery and Eileen Collins and her crew without having complied with that recommendation because we can't."

Return to Flight Task Group Executive Summary

"The remaining three recommendations were so challenging that NASA could not completely comply with the intent of the CAIB, but conducted extensive study, analyses, hardware modifications, design certifications and made substantive progress. However, the inability to fully comply with all of the CAIB recommendations should not imply that the Space Shuttle is unsafe."

3 safety goals for shuttle missed, Orlando Sentinel

"You can't legislate that people should be smart," NASA Administrator Michael Griffin said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel on Monday. "We have spent a goodly sum of money, many millions of dollars, trying to figure out how to do this, and we've not yet been successful. It's a very difficult technical problem."

Panel: NASA Fails to Meet Safety Test, AP

"A panel overseeing NASA's resumption of shuttle flights concluded Monday that the space agency has failed to meet the toughest safety recommendations put in place after the Columbia disaster."

Panel Says NASA Still Falls Short on Safety Issues, NY Times

"... the findings are an embarrassment for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration after two years of work to correct the problems that led to the loss of the shuttle Columbia and its crew of seven."

Safety panel: NASA failed to fix critical issues with shuttle, USA Today

"A safety panel ruled Monday that NASA has failed to take three steps critical to returning the space shuttle to orbit, despite the space agency's assurances that it would do so. Nevertheless, panel members said they consider the shuttle safe enough to fly again."

Panel Calls Shuttle Ready, Wavers on Safety Moves, Washington Post

"An independent panel of experts declined yesterday to fully endorse new safety measures for the space shuttle but said the orbiter is nevertheless "ready to fly" and praised NASA for its exhaustive efforts to overcome the critical flaws that caused the Columbia disaster."

Return to Flight Task Group Plenary and Public Meeting June 27, 2005 - Presentation

Statement From NASA Administrator Griffin on the Final Public Meeting of the Stafford-Covey Task Group

"As an engineer, I know that a vigorous discussion of these complex issues can make us smarter. I anticipate, and expect, a healthy debate in our upcoming Flight Readiness Review for the Space Shuttle Return to Flight mission, STS-114. We appreciate this input."

Editor's note: Richard Covey said that the Task Force will provide an executive summary of their findings to Mike Griffin tomorrow and will make that summary available to the public. As to whether the Task Force thinks that the shuttle should start to fly again, Covey said "the task force will not make a determination as to whether or not it is the right time to fly or not. We will provide advice to the Administrator."

Fixing SSME FLaws

Critical Call: Rigorous Quality Control at NASA Isolates Space Shuttle Main Engine Flaws, Aviation Week& Space Technology

"The NASA/Boeing-Rocketdyne Space Shuttle Main Engine project is correcting flaws in critical Honeywell SSME electronic components that could have caused a potentially dangerous launch pad abort. The manufacturing defects, found in Honeywell SSME Block II engine controllers, caused a shuttle engine to shut down in 2004 during ignition on a rocket test stand in Mississippi."

Shuttle Telecon

NASA Shuttle Return to Flight Planning Update

NASA's Shuttle Program Moves One Step Closer to Launch, SpaceRef

"NASA held a media teleconference this afternoon to discuss the status of preparations for the STS -114 mission."

Editor's note: I am listening to this thing on NASA newsaudio. This telecon is so poorly done: open mikes, static, audio crosstalk, people typing loudly on mike, NASA people talking and laughing in the newsroom in the back ground, odd feedback, extreme volume spikes. I can't tell what is being said half the time. And I waited patiently for two hours to listen to this? [Listen]

Calculating Risk

Shuttle launch debris risk uncertain but 'acceptable', Spaceflight Now

"The uncertainties in each of those areas are significant," he said. "There are all sorts of numbers that are floating around. We have nine different estimates for ice on tile from one ice location. ... It is a very complex problem."

NASA Confident on Managing Shuttle Ice Problem, NY Times

"The NASA managers declined to release numbers to quantify the risk ice posed by hitting different parts of a shuttle, saying such numbers would confuse the public unless all assumptions behind them were also explained and understood."

SDLV Finalist

Editor's note: Word has it that Mike Griffin's team has more or less settled on a 120 metric tonne payload, in-line, Shuttle-derived Heavy Launch System.

NASA Chief Says Schedule for Shuttles Is Unrealistic, NY Times

"Dr. Michael D. Griffin, the new administrator of NASA, said Thursday that there was no way the space shuttle fleet would be able to complete the 28 flights now planned before its retirement in 2010. A reduced schedule will lead to significant changes in how the International Space Station is assembled and supplied, he said."

Editor's note: Mike Griffin's plan to shrink the ISS will become clear when he gets the results of his 60 day study on 1 July. The international partners will be informed of the changes - by NASA - but they will not be involved in the process of reviewing the changes before being informed.


NASA Internal Memo From Wayne Hale - Subject:Waivers

"Recently there has been some confusion about the status and processing of waivers in the Space Shuttle Program, and I would appreciate the opportunity to put some of the concerns and confusion to rest."

Return to Flight Task Group Meeting Presentation

"The Return to Flight Task Group held a meeting today in Houston. NASA chartered the Task Group to perform an independent assessment of NASA's implementation of the 15 Return to Flight recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board."

NASA Near to Meeting Safety Requirements for Launching in July, NY Times

"In a news conference at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, panel members said they saw no "show stoppers" that would prevent a liftoff in July."

Panel sees no roadblocks to space shuttle launch, Reuters

"The optimistic outlook came despite the fact that three of 15 recommendations made by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, or CAIB, have not yet been met."

NASA Announces Update to Shuttle Implementation Plan

"The latest version of "NASA's Implementation Plan for Space Shuttle Return to Flight and Beyond" will be available at 9 a.m. EDT, Thursday, June 9, 2005."

- NASA Presolicitation Notice: Mini-Aercam Cold Gas Thruster Valve
- NASA Presolicitation Notice: Mini-Aercam Pressure Tank
- NASA Presolicitation Notice: Mini-Aercam Communications Antenna

"The Aercam is a Return to Flight item and is on a very tight schedule. Due to the current tight scheduling for AERCam, the fact that AERCam is Return to Flight, and the subsequent runs required for this design, there cannot be any delays to the schedule or duplicative costs."

Editor's note: When did Mini-Aercam become an RTF Item? RTF (STS-114) is now planned for NET 13 July 2005. That's 45 days from today. It was originally planned for the third week in May. A check of recent NASA procurement notices show none issued for Aercam work in 2005. Why wasn't this series of procurement notices issued in, say, early April 2005, a similar period of time before the original RTF date? Did NASA suddenly find a problem with Mini-Aercam - or was Aercam added as a RTF item in the past few weeks? In a press event a year or so ago, I asked a JSC official specifically why this (very cool) system was not being used for RTF. They said that it was not being funded for RTF, but could not provide a reason why.

Editor's update: I got a call from NASA HQ PAO. Even though this officially released and published procurement notice clearly states "The Aercam is a Return to Flight item", etc., the Mini-aercam is NOT a "Return to Flight" item in the sense that the agency generally uses the phrase "Return to Flight" i.e. STS-114, -121, etc. Moreover, according to PAO, this project is not being funded as a "Return to Flight" activity. Curiously, JSC has yet to yank - or modify this procurement notice.

Editor's 3 June Update: JSC has clarified the issue.

Modification to a Previous NASA Notice: Mini-Aercam Communications Antenna

"The purpose of this modification is to clarify that the project need date for the Mini AERCam is not based on the near-term return to flight schedule, i.e. July 2005."



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This page is an archive of entries in the Shuttle News category from June 2005.

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