Report of the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident


Volume 4 Index


Hearings of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident: February 6, 1986 to February 25, 1986 [part 2 of 2]



Centered number = Hearing page
[bold number] = Text page.

[115] 176




MR. SIECK: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission:

I'm Bob Sieck, Director of Shuttle Operations at the Kennedy Space Center, responsible for the conduct of the shuttle processing at Kennedy. Today I'm going to give a very general overview of that and talk about the facilities and the operations we perform within them.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-73]

This is an aerial map of KSC, of course, central east coast of Florida.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-74]

The two major areas, industrial area, which is primarily administrative, and some of our off-line shops and labs.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-75]

This is where I am going to focus the briefing today, which is what we refer to as Launch Complex 39.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-76]




This is an overview of what we characterize as our flow. For the Challenger mission it was generic in terms that we used all of our major facilities. Orbiter processing facility is the primary one. We do the integration of the shuttle elements in a vertical assembly building and proceed to the launch pad.

And I apologize, this is not in your briefing. We're going to have to get you this, along with better reproductions of all of the slides and the photographs that I have here, because the quality is not good in your handout. But we will get you a good photocopy of them.

I should say a few words about the processing team at Kennedy. It is a civil service-contractor team. We have approximately 6500 contractor personnel. Lockheed is our principal shuttle processing contractor. We have subcontracts with Morton Thiokol for the solid rocket booster processing. We have Grumman, which handles our launch processing system and computers, and we have Rocketdyne for the main engines.

We also have on-site at Kennedy during all of our processing representatives from the design agencies and the design elements. That has been briefed before. Principally again, for the solid rocket boosters we have United Space Boosters and Morton Thiokol. For the main


[116] 178


engines, we have Rocketdyne. For the orbiter, we have Rockwell International. And for the external tank, Martin Marietta.

And they are part of our process as we go through the flow of the vehicle at Kennedy.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-77]

A little bit more detail. On the left, the orbiter processing facility. We have two bays. We can accommodate two orbiters simultaneously. In the center, the vehicle assembly building, which is where the shuttle elements come together: the orbiter from the orbiter processing facility; the solid rocket boosters, after their refurbishment cycle, come through our rotation and processing and surge facility into the vehicle assembly building; and the external tank arrives via barge from Louisiana.

They are assembled on a mobile launch platform in one of our two integration cells, and proceed to one of our two launch pads.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-78]

This is where it starts. This is our landing facility at Kennedy.

The next chart.




(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-79]

It is basically a three-mile runway with standard aircraft navigation aids, and we have a microwave scanning beam system for the autoland capability, which the orbiter has not demonstrated yet as part of its operation.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-80]

We have had five landings of orbiters from orbit at Kennedy.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-81]

This is the way that Challenger arrived after its last mission, which was in November of 1985. It came in on our carrier aircraft to our mate-demate device.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-82]

And of course, put it on the runway, extend the landing gear, and we tow it to the orbiter processing facility. And that is the next area which I will address.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-83]

This is a view of the orbiter processing facility, basically two hangars with extensive checkout and access equipment. It gives us the capability to essentially totally refurbish the orbiter, with the




exception of very major structural mods. This is where most of our work force is concentrated. Most of our activity in a turn-around is conducted on the orbiter because of the complexity of that hardware, in one of these two high bays.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-84]

A few words about the capabilities there. Essentially, we can access every compartment on the vehicle and we can test it remotely using our launch processing system.

[117] The principal activity here, of course, is with Lockheed, primarily the refurbishment after a flight.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-85]

The operations there on the standard turn-around, approximately three to four weeks. We do all of the things that you see here, essentially in parallel to minimize the time really that we spend in this facility.

Characteristically, after a mission we safe the vehicle, and this was the case with Challenger. There were no major anomalies there. We did our de-servicing of the hazardous consumables, went into our




main engine inspections, which is one of the critical items that we perform, and reconfiguration of the payload bay for the next mission.

All of that processing was normal. This particular turn-around flow of Challenger was a little bit longer than normal because we took the opportunity to put in some of the modifications required on Challenger to fly the Centaur interplanetary missions, which would have been in the spring of this year.

The tile operations are something that we contend with each turn-around, and we start those as soon as we roll in and they proceed through until OPF rollout.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-86]

To give you somewhat of an idea of the access in there, we totally surround the orbiter with access platforms and support equipment.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-87]

We do perform payload integration for horizontally installed payloads in the orbiter processing facility. In this case we did not do that, but we had to remove the space lab from the previous mission.




(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-88]

There is a picture of the space lab.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-89]

Some of the tile work.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-90]

I'm going to talk a little bit about the processing of the solid rocket motors and the solid rocket booster segments.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-91]

These are the facilities that we perform that in, the triangle of buildings in the bottom of the picture. We have two surge facilities and we have what we call a rotation and processing facility.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-92]

[118] The segments are brought in on rail car. They are horizontal. We remove them with a crane, bring them into the processing facility, perform an inspection on all of the interfaces, and then we move the segments in and stack them in sequence in one of our two surge facilities. Next chart.




(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-93]

This is a photograph of some of the operations in the processing facility. Again, no checkout in here, storage and inspection only.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-94]

Now I'm going to talk a little bit about our mobile launch platform. The particular one used in the Challenger mission, I would have to get you the exact number, but we have used it for approximately half of our previous launches.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-95]

Basically, it provides the launch mount for the shuttle vehicle. As was explained before, the solid rocket boosters are bolted to this launch mount and it is moved around.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-96]

That is the mobile launch platform.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-97]

This is a crawler transporter, which we use to transport the mobile launch platform to the vertical assembly building and back and forth to the launch pad.




The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-98]

Now, I'm going to spend some time talking about the integration of the shuttle elements, and that occurs-the next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-99]

- in the vehicle assembly building. This is where the shuttle hardware essentially comes together. We have two what we call integration cells, high bays, that we can stack the vehicle in. We have two other bays which we use for storage of the external tank, and in the low bay areas we have some shops and labs.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-100]

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-100]

Okay, this is the mobile launch platform being brought into one of the integration cells with the crawler transporter.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-101]

We then begin the stacking of the solid rocket booster assemblies on the mobile launch platform. They are brought over with the transporter from one of the two surge facilities.




Next chart.

[119] (Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-102]

To give you an idea of that process, we use one of our large cranes to raise the solid rocket motor assembly.

The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-103]

And we lower it, and we put the pins essentially in, which is approximately 150 of them, around the circumference of the solid rocket booster. A final inspection of the sealing surfaces is done at this time, again with the factory reps on board, before we do the final pinning of the segment interfaces.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-104]

MR. FEYNMAN: Excuse me. How well do they fit together? Of course, you've constructed them round and everything was okay, but they fell into the sea and so on, and then you bring them together. Did they still fit perfectly?

MR. SIECK: No, sir, they do not always fit the first time. After they are repacked with the solid propellant in Utah and they're transported to KSC, when we get ready to do this process we do an initial fit check.




We have the capability with the sling to hold the segment with either two points or four points. We have found many times that, when we try to mate these, due to out-of-round conditions, we have to demate, change the sling positioning, and let the segment sit for some period of time, maybe even up to three hours, and then come back down and do the mate again.

So they do not always mate the first time. And again, when we give you a detailed presentation on the actual history of these segments, we shall go through that with you.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Why did you change the launch pad on this occasion?

MR. SIECK: This particular one, we have been working on launch pad B, which is our new pad, last used in Apollo for over a year. And it is part of our process to increase the flight rate to get two launch pads on line. This was the first opportunity to use the new launch pad. It was completed in December of 1985.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Was it identical with the previous one?

MR. SIECK: It is identical from the standpoint of looks and function. At the time we did the launch, there were still some differences in the buildup of the Centaur modifications to make the two




pads identical, and the rain protection systems.

Getting into more detail, functional components on each pad, due to vendor changeout you would find some differences there, but functionally the same.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-104]

Okay. The external tank comes in via barge from Louisiana, usually many weeks, sometimes months, before we stack it in the vehicle assembly building.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-105]

Again, we use the cranes to put it in the storage cell and remove it.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-106]

And attach it to the two solid rocket boosters.

[120] Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-107]

We bring the orbiter in from the processing facility.


(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-108]

Attach the slings, retract the landing gear.





(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-109]

Lift it. Next.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-110]

And lower it and attach it to the external tank attach points, the three that were described before.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-111]

Once we have completed a verification of all of those new interfaces, which is a fairly small amount of time-and for the Challenger flow it was the nominal four to five days-we roll to the launch complex.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-112]

And that is what I will describe next.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-113]

Here is our two launch pads. The one to the right is launch complex B. Again, the last time we used that was in the Apollo program. But again, to repeat, the mobile launch platform, which is the launch mount for the vehicle, has been used a number of times, and we had had it to the launch pad previous for some fit and




interface verifications before we did the stacking for this mission.

Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-114]




A few words about the facilities there. The water systems, we have three water systems, sound suppression water, which is a quench to deaden the shock wave at liftoff of the solid rocket boosters. We have what we call a potable water system, which is primary safety showers and eye washes and faucets, and we have a firefighting system which we refer to as the FIREX system.

The night of the launch, our procedure in order to maintain those three capabilities was to establish a bleed through all of those systems, much as you would a water faucet when freezing conditions were eminent, and routed most of that water over to our drain system. Our drain system is not what we call a closed loop system, though.

It dumps out on some of the platforms on the west side of the service structure, and we did notice a lot of ice out there, and that was one of the reasons for the additional ice inspection we did late in the launch count on the launch day. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-115]

[121] MR. SIECK: As we go up to the launchpad with our crawler transporter mobile launch platform, we have the capability to keep the vehicle level. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-116]




MR. SIECK: And set it down on the pedestals at the launch pad and remove the crawler transporter. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-117]

DR. RIDE: Is there any concern for the orbiter being out on Pad B without the rain protection that it would have had on Pad A?

MR. SIECK: We did have that concern. Of course, we waterproofed the orbiter thermal protection system before the rollout from the orbiter processing facility, and our criteria since all of the rain protection modifications were not in place, that after each rain we would go out and reinspect the water protection system, which is sprayed on the tile of the orbiter, and we did that three or four times. We will have to get you the exact data on that between the time we rolled out to the launchpad on the weekend of December 21st until the launch on the 28th of January.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Following up on Dr. Ride's question, I gather the rain protection system on one launchpad is different from the other?

MR. SIECK: Yes, it is. The plan is to get them both the same. Launch Pad B, the one we launched from, the modifications were not complete. One of the operations we perform at the launch pad is the




integration of the payload into the orbiter, and this was done for the Challenger mission the way it is normally done. You use a payload cannister. The interim upper stage IUS and the TDRS satellite were brought to the launchpad in a cannister such as this, and that was done before the orbiter and Shuttle arrived there. Next.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-118]

MR. SIECK: Next they are removed from the cannister and installed in the orbiter using our ground handling mechanism. That was the normal procedure. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-119]

MR. SIECK: I would say a little bit about our launch processing system, which supports all of the Shuttle flow from the orbiter processing facility to the launchpad. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-120]

MR. SIECK: The launch processing system again is primarily maintained by the Grumman Corporation. The next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-121]

MR. SIECK: The heart of the system are these consoles. Each engineer, when they perform their systems checkouts per the design center requirements,




use their procedures and their software. Whether the orbiter is in the processing facility, the vehicle assembly building, or the launchpad, we have four of these control rooms. Two of them are configured for launch process. The control room we launched from on the Challenger mission had been used many times before. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-122]

[122] MR. SIECK: That is the photograph of the control center. Of course, on launch day all of those positions or consoles are manned. There are approximately 150 people in the control room at launch time.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-123]

MR. SIECK: A little bit about the post-launch activity for the SRB retrieval. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-124]

MR. SIECK: We have a disassembly area located over on the Air Force installation at Cape Kennedy. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-125]

MR. SIECK: We retrieve the solid rocket boosters from the ocean. We have three retrieval ships. Currently here one of them is designated to go to Vandenberg, but there are currently three on site at




Kennedy. Morton-Thiokol people are principally in charge of this operation of the retrieval. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-126]

MR. SIECK: We right the booster assembly, and tow it back to Port Canaveral. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-127]

MR. SIECK: And take it into this facility. It is lifted out of the water. It goes through a rinsedown process, and then a disassembly, a cleaning and a refurbishment process. The Morton Thiokol people essentially finish their part of the disassembly and retrieval process at the time they turn it over to United Space Boosters and the Marshall contractor who performs the refurbishment of the segments which go back to Utah or the aft assemblies and the forward assemblies which have the electronics in it.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Originally the retrieval program was based upon economies, I assume. We felt it, or the country thought it was cheaper and less expensive to do it that way? Is that still the case? Is it cost effective?

MR. SIECK: I probably ought to defer to Marshall to get you the actual data on that. For us, for our operation at Kennedy, it is relatively inexpensive. How the money stacks up on the reuse and




retest of the hardware versus new. That was the original plan, obviously. I don't know how the dollars would add up. We will have to get you that.

MR. SMITH: I was talking to the captain of retrieval operations the other day. In his calculation, they have retrieved slightly in excess of $1 billion worth of hardware.


MR. SMITH: Total.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: The whole program? But I mean, I would assume that since that program started there would be improvements made so that the cost of buying new ones would have decreased. In other words, do we know whether it is still desirable from a standpoint of dollars?

MR. SMITH: The figure that I was quoting would be the cost of brand new steel cases and all, and not the total cost of the motors. It is the money saved by reuse, is what the figure should have been. We will have to verify that, but that is the figure he had.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I think the Commission would like to have that if we could get some accurate figures on that, on whether, if you, instead of continuing the retrieval program, you went to a program of buying original boosters, how much would it cost, and would it




[123] be difficult to put into effect?

MR. MOORE: Mr. Chairman, we have got economic analyses that we have done and so forth, and we will be happy to provide this Commission what we think the economic tradeoffs are relative to retrieval or not retrieving this hardware.

MR. ACHESON: How long an interval in days or hours or whatever is it between the final assembly of the system and the rollout to the launchpad?

MR. SIECK: Well, in the case of Challenger we will have to get you that data specifically.

MR. ACHESON: In the case of 51-L.

MR. SIECK: For 51-L, we completed the stacking of the solid rocket motor segments in the vehicle assembly building approximately the first week in December, and then mated the external tank, and again we rolled out to the launchpad the weekend of the 21st of December.

Now, going back further in the genealogy of those casings, whenever they were delivered from Utah, we will have to retrieve that data for you.

MR. SUTTER: After the thing splashes into that salt water, I assume they are still hot, and they get towed around by a ship, and you wash them down, but do you do any detailed structural analysis to make sure




that the load, the design loads haven't changed?

MR. SIECK: Well, I ought to defer to Marshall on that. But there is a complete inspection done at this Air Force facility before these segments are shipped out of Florida.

MR. SUTTER: Is that just a visual inspection?

MR. SIECK: It is primarily a visual inspection and a cleanup of the insulation. The process back at Morton Thiokol in Utah, we will have to get you a briefing on that, what they do with the segment casings and the repacking of the grain.

DR. RIDE: Is all of the refurbishment done in Florida and then the refurbished casing sent back to Utah for packing, or is some of the refurbishment done in Utah?

MR. SIECK: It is split up some, Sally. There is some done here by the Marshall contractors over at Cape Kennedy, and the remainder is done back in Utah, and the same applies for those assemblies which have the electronics in it, the aft and forward. Those are primarily done here in Florida, but again by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

GENERAL KUTYNA: Bob, what you have been describing for the last 20 or so minutes is really a fantastic example of teamwork and hands-on experience in




processing the shuttle after a flight and getting it ready for launch. In the early days of the program, that was done by the people who built and designed the Shuttle, those three element contractors. We then decided to compete to get the price down.

Could you describe how well did we do in retaining that old hands-on experience, those old pros that processed this before we changed contractors?

MR. SIECK: Well, the specific percentage of retention of the work force, I think we will have to get you the exact number there. It was approximately 85 percent. But there were some disciplines that had a higher percentage than others. When the contract change was made and the Shuttle processing contractor, Lockheed, took that over, they got predominantly all of the hands-on work force; a lot of the management and engineering percentages were less.

But the point to be made, a number of people, particularly the key ones, remained at Florida as part of the launch support services contract under the design centers, and they are still [124] there as part of the processing, even though they are not in line in the management function on the minute-to-minute, hour-by-hour work.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I notice there appeared to




be a leak that Lockheed had some inquiry that you were conducting. When will that inquiry be finished, and will it be available to the public?

MR. SIECK: I am sorry? The inquiry on what, sir?

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: There was previous inquiry about Lockheed's performance, and it was in the paper, I guess, two days ago.

MR. SIECK: Well, maybe I ought to explain the process. We evaluate Lockheed.

MR. SMITH: Bob, let me address what Chairman Rogers is speaking of.

MR. MOORE: Mr. Chairman, if I might, let me introduce Dick Smith, center director of the Kennedy Space Center.

(Witness sworn.)






MR. SMITH: We did have a handling estimate back in November, if I remember correctly. I don't remember the exact date. We completed our internal investigation of that. I approved that in around mid-December, and I don't remember the specific date right now. We typically send that to headquarters for our review up there before we release it. That process is going on at this time. I have on a preliminary basis already implemented, started implementing all of the recommendations, and we will make modifications if there will be any additional judgments to that.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: And the question is, will that report be made public?

MR. SMITH: That report is a public document after the final approval by the headquarters people. Yes, sir.


MR. SIECK: I believe that completed my presentation. Let's see. Next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-128]

MR. SIECK: Okay, just a few words about our off-line support facilities. A large logistics building which we just completed to maintain our spares. The




Hypergolic maintenance facility is a special facility we use to handle the orbiter maneuvering system pods on the orbiting and the forward RCS, because of the nature of the Hypergolic fuels. We do not do maintenance on those systems in the orbiter processing facility. We remove them off line, and the parachutes from the solid rocket boosters, we retrieve those, clean them, repack them, and reuse them.

That completes my presentation.

DR. WALKER: Could you say something about the venting of the gases from the external tank during launch?

MR. SIECK: During our launch countdown process, when we load the external tank liquid hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen tank venting is contained through an arm with a disconnect that essentially is cut loose at liftoff, and all that hydrogen venting is contained, and it goes through a burnoff system which in the case of Launch Complex B we call a flare stack, and it is [125] contained in that system throughout the loading, and we have sensors around that umbilical and at the interfaces with the orbiter where we load it to detect any leakage.

The oxygen system. The oxygen, liquid oxygen tank is on the top. We have what we call a beanie cap




that fits over the top of the external tank, and it has an inflatable bellows to contain all of that oxygen, and it also is vented through an arm to the outside at the same level as the top of the external tank.

DR. WALKER: Is the hydrogen vent valve closed at launch?

MR. SIECK: Yes, we close the hydrogen vent valve when we pressurize the tank at approximately two minutes before launch.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: If there are no further questions, thank you very much. We appreciate it. I think we will have a ten-minute recess now, please.

(Whereupon, a brief recess was taken.)

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: May I have your attention, please?

We plan to complete the hearing today by 4:30, quarter to 5:00, and that will finish the work that had been planned, the testimony that had been planned that we were hearing from NASA.

Tomorrow we will meet at 9:00 a.m. in the Old Executive Office Building in a closed session. The Commission will continue its work, including making plans and setting up some procedures for future work, and we also may take some testimony from witnesses, possibly classified information.




In order to explain to the media our general attitude about the future work of the Commission, let me say that we all would like to provide as much information as we can to the public, and obviously all of the information will eventually be provided to the public.

Secondly, we have to have some of our sessions in closed meetings. President Reagan has asked us to consider the evidence that we have and testimony in a calm and deliberate fashion, and in order to do that and to have a free exchange of ideas, we must meet in private session from time to time.

We have no plans to announce today as to future meetings, but as soon as we make those decisions, we will let you know.

Now we will go ahead with the rest of the testimony.

MR. MOORE: Mr. Chairman, continuing on with our planned agenda, we will talk about the design and development process for both hardware and software as well as the review process and safety process. We will try to abbreviate this process to try to give the Commission a flavor of it and to show that it is in general applicable to all the flights, but also applicable to 51-L, the Challenger mission.




I would like to introduce Thomas L. Moser, director of engineering at the Johnson Space Center.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Mr. Moser, go right ahead. (Witness sworn.)


[Please note that some of the titles to the references listed below do not appear in the original text. Titles are included to identify and clarify the linked references- Chris Gamble, html editor]
126] [Ref.2/6-73] [Aerial map of KSC]. [Ref.2/6-74] [NOT REPRODUCIBLE].

[127] [Ref.2/6-75] [Aerial view of] LC 39 Area. [Ref.2/6-76] SHUTTLE GROUND PROCESSING LOGIC FLOW DIAGRAM.

[128] [Ref.2/6-77 1 [aerial view], 2 and 3 of 3] ORBITER PROCESSING FACILITY (OPF).


[130] [Ref.2/6-78] STS LANDING FACILITY (SLF)

[131] [Ref.2/6-79] KSC SHUTTLE RUNWAY. [Ref.2/6-80] [Aerial view of] LC 39 AREA.

[132] [Ref.2/6-81] [Arrival of Shuttle Challenger on top of a Boeing 747 at KSC in November 1985]. [Ref.2/6-82] ORBITER TOWED [after being demated from 747; towed to the OPF]

[133] [Ref.2/6-83] KSC SHUTTLE RUNWAY. [Ref.2/6-84] [Aerial view of] LC 39 AREA


[135] [Ref.2/6-86] ACCESS PLATFORMS [around the orbiter in the OPF].

[136] [Ref.2/6-87] PAYLOAD INTEGRATION [in the OPF]. [Ref.2/6-88]. [Spacelab in the orbiter's payload bay].

[137] [Ref.2/6-89] [Tile work performed on the orbiter].

[138] [Ref.2/6-90] SRB ROTATION, PROCESSING AND SURGE FACILITY (RPSF). [Ref.2/6-91]. [Aerial view of facilities where SRBs are processed at KSC].

[139] [Ref.2/6-92] [SRB segments undergoing stacking].

[140] [Ref. 2/6-93] [Aerial view of] OPF and crawler transporter. [Ref. 2/6-94] MOBILE LAUNCHER PLATFORM (MLP).

[141] [Ref.2/6-95] [photo of] CRAWLER TRANSPORTER.

[142] [Ref.2/6-96] CRAWLER TRANSPORTER.

[143] [Ref.2/6-97] CRAWLER TRANSPORTER [same as 2/6-96]. [Ref.2/6-98] VEHICLE ASSEMBLY BUILDING.

[144] [Ref.2/6-99] [aerial view of] VAB. [Ref.2/6-100] MLP [same as 2/6-95].

[145] [Ref.2/6-101] [Stacking of SSRB assemblies on the Mobile Launch Platform]. [Ref.2/6-102] [Stacking of SSRB assemblies on the Mobile Launch Platform- continued].

[146] [Ref.2/6-103] [Stacking of SSRB assemblies on the Mobile Launch Platform- continued]. [Ref.2/6-104]. [Arrival of ET by barge from Louisiana].

[147] [Ref.2/6-105] Orbiter sling [photo shows cranes used to lift the tank; photo actually shows cranes lifting the orbiter]. [Ref.2/6-106] [ET being attached to the SRBs].

[148] [Ref.2/6-107] [Orbiter being brought into the processing facility]. [Ref.2/6-108]. [Slings are attached and landing gear retracted- same photo as 2/6-105].

[149] [Ref.2/6-109] [Orbiter lifted in the VAB].

[150] [Ref.2/6-110] [Orbiter attached to the SRBs and ET].

[151] [Ref.2/6-111] [Orbiter, SRB, ET on MLP rolled to launch complex].

[152] [Ref.2/6-112] LAUNCH PAD 39A AND 39B. [Ref.2/6-113] [NOT REPRODUCIBLE].

[153] [Ref.2/6-114] [Aerial view showing Shuttle on MLP arriving at Launch Pad]. [Ref.2/6-115] [Shuttle moving up to the launch pad].

[154] [Ref.2/6-116] [Shuttle on launch pad, crawler transporter removed]. [Ref.2/6-117] [Shuttle on launch pad, crawler transporter removed].

[155] [Ref.2/6-118] Satellite cannister [on launch pad]. [Ref.2/6-119] LPS [Launch Processing System; view of the room].

[156] [Ref.2/6-120] LPS [Launch Processing System; view of the room- same as 2/6-119]. [Ref.2/6-121] LCC [Launch Control Center- photo shows different consoles].

[157] [Ref.2/6-122] LCC [Launch Control Center- photo shows different consoles- same as 2/6-121]. [Ref.2/6-123] HANGAR AF - SRB DISASSEMBLY FACILITY.

[158] [Ref.2/6-124] SRB Disassembly and refurbish [facility at KSC]. [Ref.2/6-125] SRB retrieval [ship].

[159] [Ref.2/6-126] [SRB being towed by retrieval ship]. [Ref.2/6-127] SRB Disassembly and refurbish [facility at KSC- same as 2/6-124].

[160] [Ref.2/6-128] SUPPORT FACILITIES.

[161] 205




MR. MOSER: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, my organization at the Johnson Space Center provides technical support to the Shuttle Program office and to the orbiter systems in particular.

What I have done today is, I have constructed for you and for the Commission an overview of the design, development, and certification process, as Jess said, which is applicable across the board to all flights, and in particular to 51-L.

I hope that this presentation can give you an insight into the process by which the design and development is conducted, and will also give you a feel for the wealth of information that exists in the program, which I think you would want to pursue in more depth. Next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-129]

MR. MOSER: I would like to talk to you briefly about the requirements and give you a feel for how they are established, the reviews which are conducted during this requirement and design process, the verification which demonstrates the capability by test and analysis, proves the design. The safety process,




which I think is very important that you understand, is independent of the program. It is independent of the technical organization that does an independent assessment and audit. And then give you an overview of the external committees which have looked over our shoulders.

The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-130]

MR. MOSER: And the next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-131]

MR. MOSER: Now we are on an overview of how the process evolves from the definition phases which essentially establish the Level 1 requirements that Mr. Moore controls, the technology which was developed in parallel to that. For example, this is where the work was done on the thermal protection system, that is, in establishing the advance capability and the enabling technology for the Shuttle Program. There was not a lot of enabling technology developed for this program. It was pretty much on the shelf.

The design and development process is the big phase in the program which established the detailed requirements of the individual elements and the individual systems. I will talk a little bit more about that later on. The ground test program then establishes through ground testing and analysis that the design as


[162] 207


established meets the requirements that have evolved over the program.

The flight test program then provides a verification that those ground tests are in fact adequate to meet all the requirements, and then the orbital flight tests during the early phases did that very thing. The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-132]

MR. MOSER: All of these requirements, for the Commission's information, are delineated at the very top level, and are traceable all the way down through the various levels through the different elements that we have talked about today, the orbiter, the external tank, the solid rocket booster, the engines, the launch to landing site facilities. It is then-it goes down into the next level of detail, into the subsystems, for instance, the hydraulic system in the orbiter, the electrical power system in the orbiter.

Those requirements are very, very well delineated and documented in a series of documents by each one of the projects. Next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-133]

MR. MOSER: In addition to those general requirements, there are specifications which go down through the same level of all of the flight elements and




including the support equipment for the program. These specifications not only address the interface specification between the various elements, for instance, the interface hardware between the orbiter and external tank, as an example.

In addition to that, the specification for the detailed subsystems are also included in the specifications. Next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-134]

MR. MOSER: There is a series of documents which are maintained and controlled at the three different levels of the program which establish the baseline. This is an active system. Any time changes are made in the system for any reason, those documents are kept up to date. The center series of documents which is in your handout are the technical requirements. Complementing that are the NASA management requirements and also the resource requirements which ensure the program meets its requirements.

The next thing in this overview and generic presentation, and I am going to go through this, Mr. Chairman, very quickly in response to your request to try and keep it applicable to 51-L so that you can see what is available, and there are a few things that I




would recommend that you pursue in more detail.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-135]

MR. MOSER: The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-136]

MR. MOSER: I think it is important to emphasize that, as the time phasing chart indicated to you, that the initial requirements are established and the detailed requirements are confirmed. It is set into place as the design evolves. The chart that is on the monitor at this time shows how the engineering organization, both at NASA and the contractors, are establishing the details, and then they are provided to the program manager at various milestones throughout the program.

These milestones are identified along the lower portion of that chart. Their acronyms-let me just tell you in a few words what they are. The program requirements review are established [163] early in the program. That evolves all the way down to detailed design reviews which are baselined in the program somewhat time phase lagging as the technical community establishes those, but that is what is documented and established in the documents that I mentioned to you previously. The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-137]




The next three charts delineate exactly what those reviews consist of, who chairs them, how they are approved, how they are modified, and what program elements are involved. Let me have the next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-138]

MR. MOSER: And the next.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-139]

MR. MOSER: These are just definitions of those major review milestones. The next, please. (Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-140]

MR. MOSER: Now, once the design is established, the next process is to verify that that design does in fact meet the requirements, and also, Mr. Chairman, to establish what the capability of that system is, and I think on any one of the systems that you have talked about today there is a wealth of information and long presentations which should be made to you establishing how those capabilities have been established based on the things which are delineated on this chart, namely, the ground testing, the analysis, the checkout and the flight demonstration. The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-141]




MR. MOSER: Comparable to the requirements in the establishment of all of those that they in fact do meet the various levels of requirements from Level I all the way down to Level III, there is a well-documented path which is traceable for the certification of each one of the elements. Here we have not only taken the elements and the subsystems, but we have cross-correlated, if you will, each one of those systems with the environments to which it must be proven to work in, and that is shown on the integrated system verification.

The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-142]

MR. MOSER: As the verification is established, each one of the elements focuses on those things which affect its design and affects the design of the total system, for instance, the loads, the thermal, the acoustics, the vibration, etc. This is done in a total system sense and provided to each one of the elements. The way in which all of these loads and environments are combined is unique with each one of the elements, and that is probably a half-a-day presentation to this Commission on any one so that you can adequately understand it.

Next chart, please.




(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-143]

MR. MOSER: And the next?

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-144]

MR. MOSER: It is important to highlight on any one of the specific components how it interfaces with the other systems, how it is traced through a total verification logic from the initial flight requirements, design requirements to the environments in which it must live its [164] particular mass properties and so forth to establish the design loads, the design conditions, and the tests which verify that capability.

Once those things are done on the ground, the important thing to recognize is that whole process then is verified with flight data from the test program. This was constituted primarily with the first four flights of the orbiter system and correlated back with the analysis. There were a few surprises during that program.

MR. SUTTER: This process was used in the design and development of the basic program?

MR. MOSER: Yes, sir.

MR. SUTTER: When you got to these weight-saving programs and what not, did you use as complete a process when you made those changes also?

MR. MOSER: The answer to that is yes, sir.



Each one of those elements that had significant changes so that it would affect the conditions or the loads or the environment to which it was designed was re-analyzed and gone through the same process, that is correct, sir.

MR. SUTTER: Thank you.

MR. MOSER: The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-145]

MR. MOSER: And the next. That just shows the verification process from the flight data back to the design.

The next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-146]

MR. MOSER: Independent of this total engineering task that I have just walked you through very quickly is another process which goes on independently of that organization, independently of the program office, and that is the safety operations. They do an assessment of the design from the very beginning. They participate in all of the designs, the design reviews, and the certification reviews. They, in concert with the technical organizations, sign off on the adequacy of each one of the systems and subsystems in the program, that it in fact does meet its design requirements.




In addition to that, this organization does a complementary set of analyses which is highlighted in a box called complementary analysis. There are some acronyms there which are important. They do a failure modes and effect analysis of the system to understand what the impact of a failure of that system is. If there is something that comes out of that, it is identified in a critical items list, of which there are various categories of criticality of functions. A Category 1 means that loss of a component or a function would mean loss of the vehicle or loss of the crew. Category 2 means loss of the mission. And Category 3 means something like loss of data. Those are all documented along with the analysis on the criticality of all of the components in the program.

If I could have the next chart, please.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-147]

MR. MOSER: The next chart entitled "The External Review Committees" gives you a feel for, in addition, gives you a feel for the involvement by committees of technical capability and expertise external to the program which is reviewed in our total process. I have listed for you here a few of those committees. It is not complete, but we could provide you a complete review of all external review


[165] 215



I would like to point out that the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel which reports to the NASA Administrator and to Congress annually in a report, and also to the appropriate NASA managers, has participated in an extensive number of reviews of this program since its inception. Last year, for instance, they conducted 32 reviews of the entire process.

In addition to that, prior to our first flight, we had a certification assessment team which had eleven subteams in it which conducted a review over about an eight-month period in extensive detail which involved a lot of industry and academia personnel, which reviewed the NASA design and certification process.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Could I interrupt to ask on these reviews, do you know whether any of them relate directly or indirectly to the Challenger flight?

MR. MOSER: Yes, sir, some of them I believe have related directly, if you are speaking of the 51-L flight or Challenger in the previous flights.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I am speaking of 51-L.

MR. MOSER: Mr. Chairman, I do not know specifically that any one of these reviews related directly to that. I think that there were perhaps, and I would defer that to Mr. Moore.




CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Or indirectly. Rather, if we have to, if our staff looks at these, we want to be able to somehow target the things that become important for our considerations and exclude the ones that obviously are totally unrelated, and I guess what I'm asking is would you be able to find out the ones that could directly or indirectly relate to the Challenger accident?

MR. MOSER: Yes, sir, I will find that out for you and provide that to you.

MR. ACHESON: Are these reviews made of specific anomalies that arise in the program, or are they reviews also of questions that people raise from time to time?

MR. MOSER: They are both of those, sir. Some of them are reviews in response to particular anomalies. Others are part of the normal process, flight readiness reviews, design reviews, certification testing, etc. I would say the majority of them are in response to the normal process, but any time we have an anomaly, many of these committees have participated in the reviews of those anomalous conditions with us.

MR. ACHESON: Have there been reviews of solid rocket boosters on any of the Shuttle flights, or in assembly and testing generally?




MR. MOSER: Sir, I would like to refer that to that program, to that project office, if I may, and we will get that answer for you.

Listed below in not as much detail because I did not have time to prepare that for you, are other committees which have participated in an oversight or assessment, some of which are ongoing at this time, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Are the records maintained here in Washington, or would they be in Kennedy or where? Both places?

MR. MOSER: The answer to that is both places. Some records are maintained here, sir, and some are at the field centers.

Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Thank you very much.

MR. MOORE: Mr. Chairman, for our final presentation this afternoon, I would like to talk about the flight preparation process with some specifics related to 51-L, and again give you a [166] little bit more feel about some of the specific aspects we go through for the flight and preparing it to get ready for launch, as well as talk in a little bit more detail about anomaly tracking and so forth.

To do that, I would like to introduce Mr.




Richard Kohrs, Deputy Manager of the National STS Program Office at the Johnson Space Center.

THE CLERK: Do you swear that the testimony you will give before this Commission will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

MR. KOHRS: I do.


[Please note that some of the titles to the references listed below do not appear in the original text. Titles are included to identify and clarify the linked references- Chris Gamble, html editor]











[178] 219




MR. KOHRS: Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, Tom Moser covered the design, development and verification, and that continues throughout the program. If we have new changes to the vehicle or new changes to the process, then that process continues.

What I am going to describe today as an overlay to that is the flight preparation process, and the flight preparation process is really typical of any mission. It varies a little bit depending on the cargo, but basically it goes over a year and a half time period. And then I am going to conclude with showing you the FRR process, at least on an overview scale of what we used during this 51-L mission, and how that was conducted and handled.

If I could have the next chart.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-148]

MR. KOHRS: It basically shows at the top-and I will only deal with the top bullet-it basically shows that the flight manifest, which is really our mission assignments-is determined by the Level I Board here in Washington, and it is implemented by the Level II system. The way we implement that is through a




document called the FDRD document, which is a Flight Definition and Requirements Document.

In the next chart we will show you a little bit of detail.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-149]

MR. KOHRS: And I will point out here that that is this document over here, which is Volume 3. It is part of our overall configuration, control and management system of how we track requirements.

The next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-150]

MR. KOHRS: -will show you the details of what this Flight Definition Requirements Document does. It essentially has three phases. The first phase is to document basically the next year's flights in terms of the specific flight requirements for that mission, specific characteristics like throttle setting, the number of crewmen, the payload, the cargo, etc.

The second part of that document looks beyond the first year into the outyears, and it basically sets our schedules and our flight manifests for the downstream activity. It will go as far as probably today, we would go to 1989, 1990, and define the missions we have planned, when they are scheduled, etc. This allows the projects to plan their flight deliveries of




their tanks, rockets, etc.

[179] In addition to that, on the bottom of the chart, it is also used as a general mission planning document, a general document for logistics scheduling, etc. This document is controlled through our PRCB system, and if you show the next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-151]

MR. KOHRS: I apologize. I think the one in your handout is not too clear. On the top of the chart, it shows a Level I organization which is here in Washington, and in the middle of the chart it shows in the top box in the middle what we call the Level II PRCB organization, which is chaired by the NSTS program manager, who is Arnie Aldrich. And the way we operate on this, mission by mission, is we meet daily every noon in Houston by telecon. At those meetings we deal with the activities that are going on with the flight vehicles at the Cape and eventually with the flight vehicles at Vandenberg. We deal with all changes to the vehicle. We approve both the hardware and software, and to the processing. We approve all waivers, and we approve all changes to things like critical items lists, failure modes and effects analyses, and any other waivers.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-152]

MR. KOHRS: The next chart in this year-and-a




half process of a flight to flight, we have developed some other program milestones, and we have adopted the terminology called freeze points. Freeze points are just a term, but we essentially say for the system to flow in a logical order, we have got to set baselines that are the lower tier of what is in our Flight Definition Requirements Document.

This chart is a busy chart, but briefly, it lists in the first column what we are freezing by this timeframe. If you look across the top, we freeze things at 66 weeks, which basically freezes the cargo. At 33 weeks we have something called a cargo integration review, the next step of freezing that mission definition. At L minus 22 weeks, we go into the crew compartment and freeze things that are added to the crew compartment like student experiments, fill up the lockers, etc.

The second one from the right is a major milestone, and that terminology up there stands for the OPF, which is the Operator Processor Facility roll-in, minus four weeks. And what we have learned over the years is to get a logical modification to the flight vehicles, we need to define our engineering and our changes that the Cape needs to accomplish, and we shoot to do that at four weeks before roll-in, which normally




is on the order of two to three months before launch.

And finally, at the L minus ten week timeframe, we once again have a review of the ascent design. Primarily it is to reflect any late changes into maybe cargo that we have loaded on that might change our performance. We always try to launch, optimize launch probability in terms of our upper winds in our atmosphere. Normally, and I would say in our 24 flights, at that L minus ten review, we probably have only changed the ascent design maybe four or five times. And a very minor change is normally a small update to the ascent trajectory.

The last three lines on the bottom list the OPR, which is the Office of Primary Responsibility for the Level II. Those offices are all within the Level II organization. That is, the code there is just different organizations. The record that we document this is listed in the second column across the bottom, and it shows how we keep track. We update the FDRD. We update the drawings.

[180] This nomenclature of MECSLSI and MESELSI and CCCD are really drawings that reflect the configuration of the cargo below the payload bay, cargo above the payload bay and the cargo that is in the crew cabin. In addition to that, we also baseline for each vehicle, for




each flow. The drawings for that particular flow, for both the orbiter, the ET, SRB and external tank. Those drawings are maintained and controlled, and that repository is at Kennedy.

DR. RIDE: How closely have you been able to stick to these launch minus weeks in, say, the flights over the past year? If you were to look at one particular flight, take 61-C or 51-L?

MR. KOHRS: As we get closer to launch, of course, we stick closer to them, but I think back in the CIR timeframe, because of some of our remanifesting and some of our launch abort type things we have had here, we have had to go back and readjust and do what we call delta reviews because we had to change our manifest.

DR. RIDE: I know we have been doing a lot of remanifesting lately, and compressing these schedules quite a bit, and getting things like cargo integration reviews actually very close to flight.

MR. KOHRS: That's right, Sally, but in almost all of those cases it is due to some programmatic change that in a lot of cases is beyond the system's control.

For example, on the TDRS flight that we were going to fly last January, we had actually rolled out to the pad and were a week before launch, and the system decided that TDRS needed to roll back for some




modifications. That, which was two weeks before launch, upset our process, if you will, and created a series of delta reviews that we had to perform in order to get back into our normal how do we do business.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-153]

MR. KOHRS: The next chart-and I have a series of charts-then get into the flight readiness, and this first chart is an overview, and I will just touch on a few points, and then in the subsequent charts I will go into a little bit more detail of what we typically do at one of our major centers, and an example I will use will be the Marshall Space Flight Center. But basically, prior to every flight, and normally it is L minus one week, launch minus one week, the Associate Administrator for Space Flight, in this case, Jess Moore, conducts a detailed flight readiness review with all the Shuttle elements, the flight operations, and the cargo managers and their contractors. Each of these project managers or element managers that I have listed here with the basic content is-I won't read that to you. I will get into a little bit more detail on subsequent charts, and then at that review there is normally a series of open action items. Those open action items are documented by the Board, with the requirement that all open actions be closed out before or at the L minus




one day review which Jess and Arnie talked about earlier, which is our launch minus one day mission management team.

At that review we formally close those actions, they are signed off. Each project and element manager again states his readiness for flight. That readiness is a matter of record in our documentation, and then the commit to flight again is reaffirmed at the L minus one.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: And all of this was done, I assume, prior to the Challenger accident?

MR. KOHRS: Yes, sir. This process is typical of our 25 launch attempts. We also do the same type of process, as Tom mentioned, if we have a major test. We call it a test readiness [181] review. We are going to do a cluster engine firing of three main engines which are scheduled in the next month or so, but that also get into this review process and get the same level of detail and documentation.

The next couple of charts or five charts show typically how Marshall-and this is typical of Marshall and Johnson and Kennedy-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-154]

MR. KOHRS: -establish their flight readiness review process, and the first chart, which is




up there, shows on the bottom that the prime contractors, element contractors, have their own internal review. The Shuttle element project which is the first project that reports to Dr. Lucas, has their review-I'm sorry. Each Shuttle element project, ET SRB and SSME, has their review. That goes to the Shuttle project office, and then goes to the center director for his review.

It comes to the Level II office for a pre-review and then goes to Jess Moore as an FRR review and culminates at the L minus one day review.

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-155]

MR. KOHRS: The next chart shows for each of those who chairs the FRR, and the thing to note is on the first one which is the contractor, it is chaired by a level of management that is at least one higher level than the project manager for that system. The Shuttle element projects are chaired by the project manager for the three elements, and the projects office chairs the FRR, which leads up to the center director review. I have included on the next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-156]

MR. KOHRS: -the typical membership, which is really the main line organization of the Marshall Space Flight Center.




(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-157]

MR. KOHRS: The next two charts show in a little bit more detail the purpose and the content of the review, basically, the compatibility of the mission requirements with the hardware and the experience base we have had, the experience base for the engines, tank, orbiter, etc.

The hardware pedigree is determined, and I have listed there. It deals with the changes that have occurred, any waivers and deviations, any-MR there is material review actions on materials, and also limited life items. Anomalies-and Jud talked earlier about, sometimes are called observations-are also reviewed and dispositioned and documented rationale as to why that anomaly close-out is acceptable to allow us to fly on the next flight.

Also, on the next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-158]

MR. KOHRS: - is a safety and RQA review which Tom Moser mentioned is basically independent of the main line program, but it is reported to the center director institutionally, and then review of all unplanned open work that still remains before launch.

And then it goes over the support operations at the Kennedy Center, and will go over the operations




at the Vandenberg Center when it is operational, and then each element completes what we call a certificate of flightworthiness.

Now, the level of detail of the certificate of flightworthiness goes all the way down to the subsystem managers, as Tom Moser mentioned. It is that we will have in the backup documentation [182] the statement that the OMS subsystem manager or the APU subsystem manager on the SRB, he and his contractor counterpart have attested that this vehicle is ready for flight.

That culminates up to the project managers, and then on the FRR day, in this next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-159]

MR. KOHRS: - is the end product of that review, and I won't deal with the signatures on there. But basically what it says is that each contractor, on the left hand column, and each NASA project manager signs this endorsement for flight. This particular page is signed on the bottom, signature of Arnie Aldrich, who is a Level II program manager, and after that review, Jess Moore then, who chairs this meeting, and when I show you the next chart-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-160]

MR. KOHRS: -conducts a verbal readiness poll of all of the contractors that are listed on the




top of the page that are directly involved with the next launch, and this sheet happens to be the sheet from 51-L, where he has polled these contractors listed on the top, he has polled the payloads and their managers listed in the middle, and down below, the Department of Defense, the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel. In this particular case they did not attend that 51-L. They normally do. Any consultants to the Administrator or to the Associate Administrator, Chief Engineer, data tracking, and finally, the center directors.

Based upon this poll being conducted, the signed certificate of flight readiness, any open actions are documented which are closed at the L minus one.

And the final chart I had is what Jess Moore signs to attest-

(Viewgraph.) [Ref. 2/6-161]

MR. KOHRS: -that this flight configuration, the procedures are ready for flight.

And this is an example. It is typically done for every mission and for every major test that we conduct.


Are these reviews that you speak of, do they result in a written report?

MR. KOHRS: Yes, sir, written minutes with




written action items.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: And that, of course, would be available?

MR. KOHRS: That is available. For the record, we can go back to any flight that we have had or any major test. That data is available the action items and the closeouts.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Have you ever fired any contractor or subcontractor for poor performance?

MR. KOHRS: Not to my knowledge.

Someone else may want to help me on that, but not to my knowledge.

MR. MOORE: We can get you that information, Mr. Chairman. I don't recall any recently.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Are you permitted to contractually? Do you have a provision in the contract that permits you to fire a contractor or subcontractor for poor performance?

MR. KOHRS: I believe we do, and then some of our contracts are incentive contracts, some of them are award fee contracts, and you have your mechanisms for dealing with any abnormal performance in that way also.

But to my knowledge, Jess, I don't recall anybody where I would use the word "fire" for poor performance.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Well, terminate maybe?


[183] 232


MR. KOHRS: I will have to look for help on that.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: I am just wondering, I think, whether you are pretty well locked in to contractors and subcontractors by the mere fact that they are in that position, or whether you have any option to terminate a contract if you find poor performance?

MR. KOHRS: Well, a you know, as I mentioned earlier, the Kennedy contracts were just recompeted into a single processing contractor, and just effective January 1 of this year, I think, Arnie, the eastern contract, major support contract was recompeted and awarded the first of January and actually put into implementation the first of January this year.

MR. ACHESON: But the law allows you termination for the convenience of the government?

MR. KOHRS: I think that is right.

DR. WHEELON: I notice in the example here of the checkoff sheets that you have Xeroxed, most of the signatures are dated 15 January, and a few are dated 23 January.

Do you have a mechanism to go back and make sure that these were still valid certifications on the 28th?

MR. KOHRS: Yes, sir. And the reason you




don't see all of these filled out is, like Arnie said earlier, we do a lot of our meetings by telecon. The people where you see the signatures were at the meeting that day. Where it says endorsement attached, it was sent in through the mail system, and the record has all of those attached endorsements.


DR. WALKER: I had a question as to what occurs after a flight. You have a lot of data, and I presume there is some procedure for analyzing and evaluating that data?

MR. KOHRS: After each flight the anomalies are tracked. The anomalies, if they affect the next mission, automatically flow into this process for the next mission. Each project writes a flight status report or summary report for the previous mission, and that normally is documented, I would say in the average, within 30 to 40 days after the flight. Any hardware items that are removed from the vehicle go into another tracking system which the orbiter calls CAR, which is customer action request, and tracks the hardware that is removed and tracks its disposition, especially if it was involved with an anomaly closeout.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Any other questions?

(No response.)

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: Thank you very much.




MR. MOORE: Mr. Chairman, that completes our planned briefings for today, to go through the process to give you some feeling of what we go through to get ready for a flight, and to talk to you a little bit about the activities that we are doing at NASA with respect to the Challenger accident. And as we said earlier, we will be happy to provide you any additional information that you need and support your Commission in any way you deem fit.


I compliment you and your associates. We appreciate it very much. We know that we gave you very short notice, and I think it has been a very worthwhile and effective presentation.

MR. MOORE: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN ROGERS: That's it for the day.

(Whereupon, at 4:25 o'clock p.m., the Commission recessed, to reconvene at 8:30 o'clock a.m, Friday, February 7, 1986.)


[Please note that some of the titles to the references listed below do not appear in the original text. Titles are included to identify and clarify the linked references- Chris Gamble, html editor]


[186] [Ref.2/6-152] FREEZE POINTS.

[187] [Ref. 2/6-153] FLIGHT READINESS.




[191] [Ref.2/6-160] Readiness Poll.

[192] [Ref.2/6-161] [Letter from Associate Administrator for Space Flight(Jesse Moore), dated Jan.23, 1986; Subject: Space Shuttle Mission 51-L Flight Readiness Review Assessment].

February 6, 1986 SESSION (part 1) | Volume 4 Index | February 7, 1986 SESSION