Letter from Former Columbia Accident Investigation Board Members Regarding Crew Safety

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty Source: SpaceRef.com July 12, 2010 The Honorable Barbara Mikulski Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Senate Committee on Appropriations 144 Dirksen Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Dear Senator Mikulski: As former board members of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB), we agree with your view that assuring crew safety is an essential element in the discussion of future U.S. crew transportation systems. As members of the CAIB, we have also noted with interest recent space policy discussions where our report has been cited. In particular, we have been somewhat surprised to learn that some people, both within and outside of the Congress, have interpreted the new White House strategy for space which gives a greater role to the commercial sector in providing crew transportation services to the International Space Station, as being not in line with the findings and recommendations of the CAIB report. Our view is that NASA's new direction can be a) just as safe, if not more safe, than government-controlled alternatives b) will achieve higher safety than that of the Space Shuttle, and c) is directly in line with the recommendations of the CAIB…more

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