Return to Flight on Track Despite Setbacks

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kai_25

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NASA is making progress in its return to flight efforts, despite suffering setbacks from a recent rash of hurricanes that have pummeled the nation's space coast, according to the task force overseeing the agency's work. <br /><br />In a teleconference with reporters today, the joint heads of the Stafford-Covey Task Force, led by veteran astronaut Thomas Stafford and Richard Covey, said NASA will meet all 10 of the remaining recommendations by the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) by December. <br /><br />But the already tight schedule has been made more so due to the recent storms.<br /><br />"There was at least one full week's schedule of lost work," Stafford said. "They have not been able to completely assess the damage."<br /><br />NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the Florida home of its space shuttle fleet, was hit by both Hurricane Charley and Hurricane Frances in recent weeks. The agency's Michoud Assembly Facility near New Orleans, where the shuttle's external tanks are built, closed in preparations against Hurricane Ivan earlier this week, Covey said. <br /><br />"NASA will try to fit that into the milestone schedule and see how they're affected," he added.<br /><br />Last year, CAIB investigators released 29 findings and recommendations for NASA to address, 15 of them before the space agency returned its shuttle fleet, grounded since the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven-astronaut crew on Feb. 1, 2003, to flight status. To date, NASA has completely met five of those recommendations, with at least one more on the way in upcoming weeks. <br /><br />Recommendations that may be closed out in the immediate future include an overall plan for the implementation of independent safety and technical organizations, and the redesign of a bolt-catcher system designed to protect the orbiter from explosive bolt pieces during the separation of solid rocket boosters. <br /><br />External tank a challenge<br /><br />Task group officials said the biggest challenges ahead for
 
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shuttle_rtf

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Thanks for posting that - Kia.<br /><br />I suppose it's more a wait and see...when added to recent postings from SG.
 
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