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Stafford-Covey Task Group, Houston
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Three Members Added To Stafford-Covey Task Group

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced the appointment of three additional members to the task group assigned to perform an independent assessment of the agency's implementation of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board's recommendations.

The new voting members of the Stafford-Covey Task Group include an astronaut who helped restore the Hubble Space Telescope in 1993, a member of one of the first expeditions to the International Space Station, and an expert in the field of military mission operations.

"I've asked both General Stafford and Dick Covey to continue to seek out the best and brightest minds to assist them and the entire group with their important assessment objectives, "said Administrator O'Keefe. "I am confident that this distinguished panel, with its rich and diverse experience base, will help give our Return to Flight efforts focus and keep us on track."

Joining the group is Dr. Kathryn C. Thornton, a former astronaut who today is a physicist on the faulty of the University of Virginia. A veteran of three Space Shuttle flights, she helped repair a satellite in space as part of the maiden flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. During STS-61 in 1993, she was a vital member of the spacewalking team that captured and repaired the crippled Hubble Space Telescope.

U.S. Air Force Colonel Susan J. Helms, Chief of the Space Control Division, Requirements Directorate at Air Force Space Command, joins Thornton. She was a member of five Space Shuttle crews and served in a variety of roles, including mission specialist, flight engineer, and payload commander. Helms also spent a total of 163 days living and working aboard the International Space Station as part of the Expedition 2 crew.

Rounding out these latest appointments is Christine H. Fox, Vice President and Director the Operations Evaluation Group at the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research and development center based in Alexandria, Va. Fox has spent her career as a systems analyst, assisting complex organizations like the Defense Department assess challenges and define solutions.

"To effectively fulfill our charter, task group membership must include multifold perspectives and experience," said Richard O. Covey, co-chairman of the task group. "Today's appointments of Ms. Fox, Col. Helms, and Dr. Thornton, significantly enhance our capabilities by bringing to the task group additional expertise in the area of operations."

Today's appointments bring to 30 the total number of task group members from industry, academia, and government. The members are divided among three panels established to look at the management, technical and operational aspects of NASA's return to flight effort. The members include 29 voting members from outside of the agency and one NASA non-voting exofficio member.

The task group, chartered by the NASA Administrator, is co-chaired by Covey and retired Air Force Lieutenant General and former Gemini and Apollo astronaut Thomas P. Stafford.

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