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For Immediate Release
CAIB PA 19-03

Date: April 4, 2003
Lt. Col Woody Woodyard, 281-283-7520 or 713-301-2244
Contact: Terry N. Williams, 281-283-7565

Columbia Accident Investigation Board Holds Fourth Public Hearing

Houston - The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) will hold public hearings on Monday, April 7 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. CDT (2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EDT) and Tuesday, April 8 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. CDT (10 a.m. to 1 a.m. EDT) at the Hilton NASA Clear Lake, Houston, Texas.

The Board's chairman, retired Navy Admiral Harold W. "Hal" Gehman Jr., and other board members will hear from individuals who have been asked to appear before the Board. On the first day of the hearing, experts will discuss: Post Flight Analysis, Flight Rules and the History of Foam Separation on the External Tank. Day two participants will discuss NASA Safety Issues and the History of Debris Hits on the Orbiter. Following a brief presentation, the speakers will answer questions from the Board during the hearing.

The speakers include: Colonel James Halsell, NASA Astronaut; Bob Castle, NASA Mission Operations Directorate Chief Engineer; J. Scott Sparks, Department Lead for External Issues, Marshall Space Flight Center; Lee D. Foster, Technical Staff, Vehicle and Systems Development Department, Space Transportation Directorate, Marshall Space Flight Center; Richard Blomberg, President, Dunlap and Associates, Inc.; Dan Bell, Boeing and Gary Grant, Boeing.

ABC is the pool for the hearing. They will broadcast on: Monday, April 7, Telstar 4 12 D02, 11:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. CDT, Tuesday April 8, Telstar 4 12 D02, 8:45 a.m., - 3:15 p.m. CDT. The coordinates apply for Tuesday’s press conference. Gina Treadgold, Producer, ABC News is the pool coordinator. She can be reached at: (281) 280-9100, JSC workspace or (713) 557-4843, cell phone.

The following are brief biographies of the hearing speakers:

Monday, April 7, 2003

Colonel James Donald Halsell, Jr., USAF, is a NASA astronaut. The five-flight veteran has logged over 1,250 hours in space. He was the pilot on STS-65 and STS-74. He was mission commander on STS-83, STS-94 and STS-101. STS-83, the Microgravity Science Laboratory (MSL-1) Spacelab mission, was cut short because of problems with one of the Shuttle's three fuel cell power generation units. Mr. Halsell served as NASA Director of Operations at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia and Manager, Shuttle Launch Integration, Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He is assigned to command the crew of STS-120, which will transport and install the Node 2 module to the International Space Station, marking the completion of the U.S. core complement. The mission is slated for launch in early 2004. Mr. Halsell received a Master of Science degree in management from Troy University, a Master of Science degree in space operations from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the United States Air Force USAF Academy.

Robert Castle Jr., Mission Operations Directorate Chief Engineer, is the former Deputy Chief of the Flight Director Office for International Space Station. He is certified as a Space Station Flight Director and has served as an ISS Flight Director for 3 assembly missions and many weeks of increment operations. As a Flight Director, he directed more than 25 Space Shuttle missions, including the first mission to dock with the Mir station, and the first assembly mission of the International Space Station. Additionally, he was a communications specialist for 15 Space Shuttle flights and a mid-level manager of a group of flight controllers. Mr. Castle was also a “back room” communications specialist for the first shuttle launch in 1981.

J. Scott (Scotty) Sparks is Department Lead for External Tank Issues. He participated in External Tank cryoinsulation, at the Marshall Space Flight Center for more than a decade. He assisted in the development of Next Generation Launch Technology systems to measure hydrogen permeability of composite cryotankage materials under cyclic biaxial loading and cryogenic temperature. Mr. Sparks has a Masters of Science Degree in Polymers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Lee D. Foster is a member of the Technical Staff, Vehicle and Systems Development Department, Space Transportation Directorate, Marshall Space Flight Center. He has served as Chief of the Induced Environments Branch where he was responsible for aerodynamic and thermal environments for the Marshall Space Flight Center Space Shuttle Elements. He has spent many years involved with External Tank Thermal Protection Systems design and development with particular emphasis on aerothermal testing of the External Tank materials. Mr. Foster has an extensive knowledge of overall External Tank and Shuttle systems, and has participated in many investigations over the years including the Challenger Investigation and several External Tank debris investigations. He also worked as an Aerothermodynamicist in the Aerophysics Division. Mr. Foster has a Bachelor of Science degree in
Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Tuesday, April 8, 2003

Richard D. Blomberg is President of Dunlap and Associates, Inc., one of the oldest human factors research firms in the world. In this position, he has directed or been involved in the application of human engineering and systems analytic principles to aircraft design and certification, aerospace research, highway safety, product safety and the design and evaluation of human-computer interfaces. Prior to this, Mr. Blomberg served as a consultant, member and human factors specialist on the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He was the chair of the Panel for the last four years of his term. He is a member of the Transportation Research Board (TRB), The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Society of Automotive Engineers, the Operations Research Society of America, the Association for Consumer Research, the Association of Aviation Psychologists and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Mr. Blomberg holds both a Bachelor & Master of Science in Industrial and Management Engineering from Columbia University.

Gary W. Grant is a systems engineer in the Thermal Management group for the Boeing Company at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He has been involved in the processing and turnaround of Orbiter Thermal Protection Systems for 14 years. Some of his specific responsibilities have included maintaining and evaluating operational requirements and thermal analysis disciplines. He is currently a member of the Leading Edge Structural Subsystem (LESS) technical community and is acting as assistant subsystem manager. Grant has a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University and Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology.

Dan Bell is the Boeing Thermal Protection System (TPS) Sub System Manager (SSM), Kennedy Space Center, Florida. He has 15 years of technical experience in TPS development, characterization and application. Prior to becoming the TPS SSM, he acted as the Manager of the Thermal Management Systems group of Materials and Process Engineering at the Boeing's Shuttle design center. In addition to his Shuttle experience, he has participated in TPS activities on the X-43A (Hyper-X), various NASA technical studies, Delta IV, MA-31 missile program, X-37 and Joint Strike Fighter. He has a bachelor of science in chemistry from Humble State University, Arcata, California.

Additional biographies will be posted as they become available.

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