A reader gave me the heads up on the latest development in the post-Columbia NASA plan. The entire Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel has resigned.
In the wake of the Columbia accident, which killed seven astronauts on Feb. 1, the safety panel was criticized by members of Congress as being ineffective.
The Columbia Accident Investigation Board said in its report that the ASAP lacked influence. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee said the ASAP failed to spot potential danger signs in the operation of the space shuttle and that NASA should reconstitute the panel.
[Panel chairman Shirley] McCarty told The New York Times that the panel felt “a very big sense of frustration.”
NASA spokesman Glenn Mahone said NASA already has started the process “to revise the panel’s charge based on congressional reaction to the findings of the CAIB.”
Although I don’t think that this is a bad thing, I hope no one gets the impression that this is going to make a major impact on how NASA, particularly the space shuttle program, operates.
I haven’t commented much on the findings of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, mostly because there’s nothing new in there. The investigation merely confirmed what everyone has known for years, if not decades.
I’m not sure how much direct affect this is going to have on the schedule to return the shuttles to flight. The March target has been tossed out, replaced by a “July at the earliest” goal.