Antares Investigation Board Includes Former NASA Shuttle Program Manager

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WASHINGTON — Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, identified members of the eight-person accident investigation board charged with figuring out what destroyed the company’s Antares rocket and Cygnus space tug 15 seconds after liftoff Oct. 28 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport spaceport in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Among the investigators is former NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager Wayne Hale, who oversaw the shuttle’s return to flight in 2005 after the loss of the Columbia orbiter and all seven crew members in 2003.

Orbital’s Nov. 3 press release about the accident investigation board is copied below.

Orbital Antares Update – November 3, 2014

Over the weekend, Orbital confirmed the participation of the following individuals who will serve on the Antares launch failure Accident Investigation Board (AIB), which is being led by Orbital under the oversight of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The composition of the AIB is as follows:

Chairman

  • David Steffy, Chief Engineer of Orbital’s Advanced Programs Group

Members

  • David Swanson, Senior Director of Safety and Mission Assurance for Orbital’s Technical Operations organization
  • Wayne Hale, Independent Consultant and Former NASA Space Shuttle Program Manager
  • David Cooper, Member of Orbital’s Independent Readiness Review Team for the company’s Launch Systems Group
  • Eric Wood, Director of Propulsion Engineering for Orbital’s Launch Systems Group
  • Tom Costello, Launch Vehicle Assessment Manager in the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center
  • Matt Lacey, Senior Vehicle Systems Engineer for NASA’s Launch Services Program

FAA Oversight Team

  • Michael S. Kelly, Chief Engineer, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation
  • Marcus Ward, Mishap Response Coordinator, FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation

Antares Data Review:

The AIB is initially focused on developing a “fault tree” and a timeline of the important events during the launch sequence. Due to the large amount of data available, the AIB is able to work with a rich source of information about the launch. One of the initial tasks for the AIB is to reconcile the data from multiple sources, a process that is now underway, to help create the launch sequence timeline.

Launch Site Status:

Over the weekend, Orbital’s Wallops-based Antares personnel continued to identify, catalogue, secure and geolocate debris found at the launch site in order to preserve physical evidence and provide a record of the launch site following the mishap that will be useful for the AIB’s analysis and determination of what caused the Antares launch failure. The debris is being taken to a NASA facility on Wallops Island for secure and weather resistant storage.