Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) Charter

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2003


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 required.


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 10:30 am February 1, 2003, to convene such a Board and to name it the Columbia Accident Investigation Board.


Chairman of the Board

  • Admiral Hal Gehman, USN

Board Members

  • Commander, Naval Safety Center, Rear Admiral Stephen Turcotte
  • Director, Plans and Programs, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command, Maj. General John Barry
  • Commander, HQ USAF Chief of Safety, Major General Kenneth W. Hess
  • Chief, Aviation Safety Division, Department of Transportation, Dr. James N. Hallock
  • Director of Accident Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration, Mr. Steven B. Wallace
  • Commander, 21st Space Wing, USAF, Brig. General Duane Deal
  • Director, NASA Ames Research Center, Mr. Scott Hubbard


Standing Support Personnel Reporting to the Board

Ex-Officio Member: Mr. Bryan OíConnor, Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission Assurance

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.

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 Mishap Board Chairman. Upon approval by the NASA Administrator, the Task Force Team members will convene and meet with the appropriate Working Group Team leads. The Task Force Team will support the Board and they will:

  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 as the Board deems appropriate.


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. This includes staff advisors, as required, for expertise in areas such as public affairs, legal, medical, safety, and security. 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 for public release at such time and in such manner as the Board deems appropriate.

February 1, 2003
Revised: February 6, 2003

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