Stafford-Covey clear Discovery to fly

by Chris Bergin

The Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group have praised NASA over the implementation of the 15 Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) recommendations.

While “open issues” still remain – only partially fulfilling the final three recommendations – the Task Group will officially pass on their findings to NASA boss Mike Griffin ahead of the decision to fix the launch date for STS-114.

In a mundane and sometime un-expressive press conference, Stafford-Covey – not helped by un-imaginative questions from the media present – waited until the end of the meeting to give some clarification on where they stand in reference to STS-114.

Noting they “have appreciated the efforts….to be a harsh judge” on monitoring NASA’s implementation of the 15 Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) recommendations, the Task Group did give their backing to the July launch window that opens on the 13th of next month.

While some debris analysis is on-going and some open issues will be worked on through to the opening of the launch window, the Task Group did note they are happy with how NASA has progressed to this point of being ready to return the Shuttle fleet to operations.

The Task Group also noted they will be officially taking their findings to NASA administrator Griffin “in the right context” – as the Flight Readiness Review closes in and ultimately Griffin’s announcement on the targeted launch date. However, Griffin had already noted that the Task Group will not hold any decision relevant to the launch date.

More will follow once the full quote sheet has been made available.

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