Columbia Accident Investigation Board
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Board Charter


1. Guidelines
In the case of a high-visibility, mission-related Shuttle mishap, the NASA Administrator may activate an International Space Station and Space Shuttle Mishap Interagency Investigation Board (the Board). Board activation is anticipated for events involving serious injury or loss of life, significant public interest, and other serious mishaps. The Board should consist of at least seven members, and be supported by the Office of Space Flight Headquarters and technical consultants as the Board deems appropriate.


2. Activation
The recommendation for the NASA Administrator to activate this Board will normally be made at either the Associate Administrator for the Office of Space Flight-directed Mishap Response Teleconference or as a decision at the Administratorís HCAT meeting and/or teleconference. For this case, the NASA Administrator has determined effective at 10:30am February 1, 2003, to convene such a Board and to name it the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.


3. Membership

Chairman of the Board
Admiral Hal Gehman, USN

Board Members
Rear Admiral Stephen Turcotte, Commander, Naval Safety Center
Maj. General John Barry, Director, Plans and Programs, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command
Maj. General Kenneth W. Hess, Commander, Air Force Safety Center
Dr. James N. Hallock, Chief, Aviation Safety Division, Department of Transportation, Volpe Center
Mr. Steven B. Wallace, Director of Accident Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration
Brig. General Duane Deal, Commander, 21st Space Wing, USAF
Mr. Scott Hubbard, Director, NASA Ames Research Center
Mr. Roger E. Tetrault, Retired Chairman, McDermott International, Inc.
Dr. Sheila Widnall, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and Engineering Systems, MIT
Dr. Douglas D. Osheroff, Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, Stanford University
Dr. Sally Ride, Professor of Space Science, University of California at San Diego
Dr. John Logsdon, Director of the Space Policy Institute, George Washington University


4. Board Support

Standing Support Personnel Reporting to the Board
Ex-Officio Member: Lt. Col. Michael J. Bloomfield, NASA Chief Astronaut Instructor
Executive Secretary: Mr. Theron Bradley, Jr., NASA Chief Engineer


Additional Support Personnel. The Board may designate consultants, experts, or other government or non-government individuals to support the Board as necessary. In addition, the Board may substitute non-NASA personnel as Executive Secretary at the discretion of the Chairman.

Task Force Team Support. Within 72 hours of activation of the Interagency Board, the AA/OSF, the AA/SMA, the NASA Field Center Director or NASA Program Associate Administrator (Non-OSF or Non Mission Related), and the NASA Chief Engineer will meet to select and recommend Task Force Team members to the Columbia Accident Investigation Board Chairman. Upon approval by the Board and appointment by the NASA Administrator, the Task Force Team members will convene and meet with the appropriate Working Group Team leads. The Task Force Team may to the extent that the Board deems appropriate:
  1. Be the formal interface between the Board and the activated Working Groups;
  2. Monitor, collect, document, and file the reports of the Working Groups
    activated to support the mishap investigation;
  3. Provide the Board members with requested information and reports from the
    Working Groups; and
  4. Assist the Board in the preparation of interim and final reports.


5. Columbia Accident Investigation Board Responsibilities

The Independent Board will:

  1. Conduct activities in accordance with the policies and procedures adopted by the Board.
  2. Schedule Board activities, interim Board reports, and submission of the final Board report as the Board deems appropriate.
  3. Determine the facts, as well as the actual or probable causes of the Shuttle mishap in terms of dominant and contributing root causes and significant observations and, recommend preventive and other appropriate actions to preclude recurrence of a similar mishap. The investigation will not be conducted or used to determine questions of culpability, legal liability, or disciplinary action.
  4. Use the established NASA support structure of working groups, NASA Field Center support, and supporting facilities to conduct the investigations, as the Board deems appropriate. The Board may use non NASA support as it deems appropriate.
  5. Activate the working groups appropriate to the mishap.
  6. Obtain and analyze whatever facts, evidence, and opinions it considers relevant by relying upon reports of studies, findings, recommendations, and other actions by NASA officials and contractors or by conducting inquiries, hearings, tests, and other actions it deems appropriate. In so doing, it may take testimony and receive statements from witnesses. All elements of NASA will cooperate fully with the Board and provide any records, data, and other administrative or technical support and services that may be requested.
  7. Impound property, equipment, and records to the extent that it considers necessary.
  8. Release mishap information and mishap investigation reports, as the Board deems appropriate.
  9. Develop recommendations for preventative and other appropriate actions. A finding may warrant one or more recommendations or may stand alone.
  10. Provide a final written report at such time and in such manner as the Board deems appropriate which upon its completion will be immediately released to the public.



February 1, 2003
Revised: February 18, 2003



Letter from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe
February 18, 2003

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