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For Immediate Release
CAIB PA 26-03

Date: May 2, 2003
Contact: Lt. Col Woody Woodyard, 281-283-7520 or 713-301-2244
Contact: Terry N. Williams or Patricia Brach, 281-283-7565

Columbia Accident Investigation Board Holds Sixth Public Hearing and Press Briefing

Houston - The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) will hold their sixth public hearing followed by a press briefing on Tuesday, May 6. The public hearing will be from 9 a.m. to noon, CDT, (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., EDT) followed by a press briefing at 1 p.m. CDT (2 p.m. EDT). Both events will be held at the Hilton NASA Clear Lake, Houston, Texas.

In the morning, 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. Experts will discuss: OEX timeline update, ascent video, debris and radar cross-section test results.

The speakers include: Doug White, Director of Operations Requirements, Orbiter Element Department for United Space Alliance; Paul Hill, Flight Director for NASA Space Shuttle and International Space Station; Dave Whittle, Chairman of both the Systems Safety Review Panel and the Mishap Investigation Team in the Shuttle Program Office; Steven Rickman, Chief of the Thermal Design Branch and Dr. Brian Kent, Air Force Research Laboratory "Research Fellow"

NBC is the pool for the hearing and the press briefing. They will broadcast on: Tuesday, May 6. The coordinates are: Bird SBS 6: Transponder 12 Slot F: Symbol Rate 4.232: Downlink Frequency 12,006.250: Polarity Vertical: Frequency/Code Rate 5/6: Data Rate 6.500: FEC (Forward Error Correction) 5/6: Time 0900 – 1600 EDT

For additional information contact Pool Coordinator, Clint Houston at 713-504-9444.

At the press briefing, following the public hearing, Board Chairman Hal Gehman will be joined by a board member from each of the CAIB's three working groups to provide an update about the ongoing investigation.

Members of the working press with the appropriate credentials are welcome to attend.

The following are brief biographies of the hearing’s speakers:

Tuesday, May 6, 2003
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

R. Douglas White is Director of Operations Requirements, Orbiter Element Department for
United Space Alliance. His responsibilities have included turnaround test requirements, engineering flight support, anomaly resolution, and Orbiter certification of flight readiness preparation. Prior to coming to United Space Alliance, Mr. White worked for the space shuttle program with Rockwell International. Mr. White received his Masters of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in physics from UCLA.

Dr. Gregory J. Byrne serves as Assistant Manager, Human Exploration Science, Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Office (ARES) and as manager of the Earth and Image Science Laboratory. Prior to his position with ARES, he was a space shuttle flight instructor of astronaut crews, trained Shuttle astronauts and participated in training development for Space Station astronauts in the Mission Operation Directorate at Johnson Space Center. He was also an Assistant Professor at the University of Houston researching the stratosphere, ionosphere, and magnetosphere. Dr. Byrne continues his affiliation with U of H as an adjunct assistant professor .He has over 40 publications on topics such as atmospheric and space science, electrodynamics, radiation, and ozone depletion. He is currently publishing a series of articles on atmospheric phenomena photographed by astronauts in orbit. Dr. Byrne received a Ph.D. from the Space Physics and Astronomy Department from Rice University and Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Syracuse University.

Steven Rickman is the Chief of the Thermal Design Branch. He has considerable experience as a thermal analyst focusing primarily on passive thermal control of orbiting spacecraft and numerous advanced programs. He served as the NASA Technical Manager for the development of thermal analysis tools used throughout NASA and industry. Mr. Rickman is also the thermal design engineer for numerous spacecraft components and experiments including the Martian Radiation Environment Experiment that is currently flying on the 2001 Odyssey mission and the Extravehicular Charged Particle Directional Spectrometer currently operating on the International Space Station. Mr. Rickman earned a Master of Science degree in Physical Science from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Brian M. Kent currently serves as an internationally recognized technical expert and Air Force Research Laboratory "Research Fellow" in Radar Cross Section (RCS) test and evaluation measurement technology. He is responsible for leading research programs to develop advanced RCS measurement systems. He is the lead technical expert in the implementation of ISO-25 based national quality RCS measurement standards for industrial and government facilities worldwide. Dr. Kent served the US Air Force as a civilian engineer for 26 years. He was elected AFRL fellow and is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Dr. Kent received his MSEE and Ph.D.EE from Ohio State University and his BSEE from Michigan State University.

David W. Whittle is the Chairman of the Systems Safety Review Panel and Chairman of the Mishap Investigation Team in the Shuttle Program Office. He has nearly 35 years with NASA. While at NASA, he was a flight controller for most of the Apollo Missions, Flight Simulation Engineer on the Shuttle Training Aircraft, Team Leader for the Skylab Re-entry, Flight Controller for early Shuttle Missions, Communications and Data Systems Branch Chief in Missions Operations Directorate, and Safety Division Chief in Safety Reliability and Quality Assurance. He received his MBA degree from the University of Texas, Clear Lake, his BSEE degree from the University of Texas, Arlington and his Aviation Safety Certification from the University of Southern California.

Mr. Paul S. Hill is the Flight Director for NASA Space Shuttle and International Space Station. He is responsible for leading the flight control team for flight preparation and execution from Mission Control and the Flight Director for 21 Shuttle and ISS missions. Prior to his current position, Mr. Hill was the Space Station and Space Shuttle Operations Engineer, Joint Operations Panel Chairman. He also served as a Captain in the United States Air Force. Mr. Hill received his Masters of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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