National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters

Washington, DC 2O546-CXXJ1

March 12, 2003

M-l/Deputy AssociateAdministratorfor ISS and Space ShuttlePrograms M/AssociateAdministrator for SpaceFlight


SUBJECT' SpaceShuttleReturnto Flight
While the ColumbiaAccident InvestigationBoard (CAIB) andNASA continuetheir investigationinto the causeof the Columbiami.qhap, is important for NASA's Space it Flight Enterpriseto begin focusingon thoseactivitiesnecessary expeditiouslyreturnthe Space to Shuttleto flight. Although NASA will be guidedby the CAlB' s formal recommendations, needto begin to we identify thosecritical actionsnow that we believeneedto be completedbefore a safereturn to flight canbe assmed.We will adjustthis preliminary planning as necessary we receive as recommendations from the CAlB. ... The Deputy AssociateAdministrator for InternationalSpaceStation and SpaceShuttle Programswill establisha formal "Retm'nto Flight" team,andprovide direction for the team to address theseactionsand other actionsdetermined necessary comply with the fOIDlal to recommendations the CAIB. This team. includekey representatives. theS~ of will of ShuttleProgram(SSP)office and supportingHuman SpaceFlight Centers,andotherNASA centerand headquarters personneldeemed appropriate.The teamwill plan for a safereturn to flight as soonaspracticable. As a goal,the SSPshall plan for correctiveactionsandreviews which supporta launchopportunity asearly asthe Fall of2003. The team will Workclosely with the leadershipof the InternationalSpaceStati9n(ISS) program to ensmethat retmn to flight plans supportanoptimal return to the tasksofISS assemblyandcontinuedlogistics support. Programreturn to flight actionsshouldconsider, not be limited to the following: but A throughreview of the adequacy robustness key SpaceShuttlesystems, and of such as "msuIation me approachcimClitly in useon tlle ExtmnaITarik;

Operational concepts on-orbitinspection repairof TPS; . for and

A review of policies containingphotographicandradar cOverage policies of critical flight phases; A review of FailureModes andEffectsAnalyses,Critical Items Lists, Waivers, Hazards,and their rebaseliningandassociated controls; and The processfor identification andresolutionof in-flight safety of flight issues, including the appropriatelevel of management viSl"bilit}iand decisionin that process.

I. am asking you to initiate theseReturn to Flight activities assoon asposSlole, establishthis team,andprovide a preliminary actionplan no later than 1 April 2003. You Will be responsible providing the teamcharterandday-to-daydirection. for To provide guidanceand oversightof this activity, I am. alsoestablishing SpaceFlight the LeadershipCounci4 consistingof yomself, the Office of Space Flight CenterDirectors, and the AssociateAdministratOrof Safetyand Mission Assurance.During the Retm-n F1ight to process, have askedDr. Michael Greenfield,AssociateDeputy Administrator for Technical I Programs,to serveas co-chairwith me. Much needsto be doneaswe move forward to fly again. I anticipatethat our processes will be Strengthened that the safetyof flight enhanced we return to flight. and as


William F. Readdy

cc: AD/Mr. Gregory AA/Mr. StOOd AD IIMr. Jennings ADT/Dr. Greenfield AFlMr. Bradley AG/MLC ignaer AM/Dr. Williams AO/Mr. Strassman (Acting) AS/Dr. Lucid B/Mr. Isakowitz C1Mr.FreIk F/Dr. Hayden-Watkins F/Ms. Novak G/MI. Pastorek H/Mr. Luedtke IIMr. Schumacher J/Mr.Sutton K/Mr. Thomas UMr. Homer N/Dr. Loston P/Mr. Mahone Q/Mr. O'Connor R/Dr. Creedon S/Dr. Weiler U/Ms. Kicza W/Mr. Cobb X/Mr. Saleba.
V/nr A~T

JSC/ ANGeneral Howell MAIMr. Dittemore OA/Mr. Gerstenmaier KSC/AAIMr. Bridges MSFC/BAO 1/Mr. Stephenson SSC/ AAOO/Mr.Parsons