CAIB PA 37-03
Date: July 1, 2003
Col Woody Woodyard, 703-416-3532 or 713-301-2244
Brown, 703-416-3532 or 281-467-8657
Columbia Accident Investigation Board Issues Preliminary Recommendation
Four: Launch and Ascent Imaging
VA The Columbia Accident Investigation Board today
issued its fourth preliminary finding and recommendation to
the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in advance
of its appearance in the final report.
the imaging system to be capable of providing a minimum
of three useful views of the Space Shuttle from liftoff
to at least Solid Rocket Booster separation, along any
expected ascent azimuth. The readiness of these assets
should be included in the Launch Commit Criteria for future
should be given to using mobile assets (ships or aircraft)
to provide additional views of the vehicle during ascent.
the Space Shuttle vehicle during launch and ascent provides
necessary engineering data including the ability to examine
the entire Space Shuttle system for any unexpected debris
or other anomalies during ascent.
variety of assets are already in place at the Kennedy
Space Center (KSC) and on the Air Force Eastern Range
(ER) to accomplish this task.
data from the optical assets at KSC and the ER are reported
to the Mission Management Team in the days following the
launch. A quick look report is available the
day after launch, and a more detailed analysis is available
within a few days. For the most part, engineering quality
ground-based data is not available in real time.
the STS-107 ascent, two ground-based long-range camera
sites provided data that was usable for evaluating the
foam strike against the vehicle. A third camera that would
have provided a better view was unusable.
current long-range camera assets on the Kennedy Space
Center and Eastern Range are inadequate to provide best
possible engineering data during Space Shuttle ascents.
of STS-107 debris impact was hampered by lack of high
resolution, high speed cameras (temporal and spatial imagery
Space Shuttle is still a developmental vehicle, and engineering
data from each launch is essential to further understand
numerous ground-base imaging assets are available, they
are often inadequate to provide meaningful data to the
ability to validate models on the effect of the TPS debris
strikes has been hampered by the lack of high quality
ascent image data.
existing camera sites suffer from a variety of readiness,
obsolescence, and urban encroachment (i.e., civilian buildings
around the asset) problems.
imaging systems have not been upgraded to reflect changes
in launch patterns, primary azimuths associated with International
Space Station support missions.