NASA Administrator Sean O’Keefe today announced the new
NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), which includes
nine distinguished members and a new charter. The initial
meeting of the new panel is expected soon.

“The Columbia Accident Investigation Board report clearly
indicated we need to get back to basics with our safety
assessment,” said Administrator O’Keefe. “By recommitting
ourselves to the original concept for the ASAP, we believe a
stronger, more focused advisory panel will benefit the entire
agency well beyond our Return to Flight efforts.”

The ASAP was originally chartered by Congress in 1967 after
the tragic Apollo One fire, to act as an independent body to
advise the NASA Administrator on safety issues regarding
operations, missions and other agency initiatives. The new
charter calls for the ASAP to be composed of recognized
safety, management and engineering experts from industry,
academia and other government agencies.

Over the years, administrative procedures were added to govern
the conduct of the panel. These procedures have been revoked,
and the new panel will have the opportunity to develop its
agenda in concert with the oversight findings of the Columbia
Accident Investigation Board.

“By drawing on and tasking the technical support of the NASA
Engineering and Safety Center, the panel will have a deep
capacity to conduct comprehensive, independent, external
oversight of our safety systems, operations and culture. We
welcome the members’ active participation in our efforts to
emerge from the Columbia tragedy a smarter, stronger and safer
agency dedicated to exploration,” said Administrator O’Keefe.

In late September 2003, 11 ASAP members and consultants
resigned in the wake of the Columbia accident.

The new ASAP members are:

  • Rear Admiral Walt Cantrell, USN (Ret)
    Former Commander, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command
    Member, NASA Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group
    Former NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel member
  • Vice Admiral Joe Dyer, USN (Ret)
    Former Commander, Naval Air Systems Command
    General Manager, Military Systems Division, iRobot Corporation
  • Augustine Esogbue, Ph.D.
    Professor and Director, Intelligent Systems & Controls
    Laboratory, School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
    Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Major General Rusty Gideon, USAF (Ret)
    Former Commander, U.S. Air Force Safety Center, and USAF Chief of Safety
    Former Director of Operations, Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command
    Former Commander, Foreign Aerospace Science and Technology Center
  • Deborah Grubbe
    DuPont Corporate Director — Safety and Health
    Member, National Academy of Sciences
    Former consultant, Columbia Accident Investigation Board
  • Rosemary O’Leary, J.D., Ph.D.
    Professor of Public Administration and Political
    Science, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York
    Member, NASA Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group
  • John Marshall
    Delta Airlines, Vice President Corporate Safety and Compliance, Atlanta
    Co-chair, Commercial Aviation Safety Team Board member, National Defense Transportation Association
  • Steve Wallace
    Director, Office of Accident Investigation, Federal Aviation Administration
    FAA representative to National Transportation Safety Board
    Former Columbia Accident Investigation Board member
  • Rick Williams
    Corporate Safety Director, Alcoa, New York
  • Former Director, Human Resources, Alcoa Primary Metals, Knoxville, Tenn.

  • Brigadier General Joseph Smith, USA — Ex-Officio Member
    Director, U.S. Army Safety Center, Fort Rucker, Ala.
  • The new ASAP will begin with the original charter, signed by
    then-NASA Administrator James E. Webb. New provisions help
    assure an independent, long-term oversight of the agency’s
    safety policies and programs. Some of the revisions include:

    The new ASAP will report quarterly instead of annually
    The term for new members is two years, extendable to a
    maximum of six years in order to stagger terms of
    service and ensure a fresh perspective at regular
    The new ASAP focuses on NASA’s safety and quality
    systems. ASAP will focus on industrial and systems
    safety, risk management, trend analysis and the
    management of these activities

    “We’ve taken extra steps to ensure the independence of this
    panel,” said Associate Administrator for Safety and Mission
    Assurance Bryan O’Connor. “While the original law and the new
    charter allow for NASA members, none of the new members is a
    current or former agency employee or contractor.”

    The new ASAP is also expected to play an important role in the
    ongoing safety assessment and review of the Space Shuttle
    program after Return to Flight. “We intend for the ASAP to
    oversee our implementation of the Columbia Accident
    Investigation Board’s recommendations long after the work of
    the Stafford-Covey Return to Flight Task Group is completed,”
    added Administrator O’Keefe. “Our intent is to
    institutionalize a renewed commitment to safety, and the panel
    will help us assure that we follow through on that objective.”

    The new Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel charter and member
    biographies are available on the Internet, at:

    Information about NASA is available on the Internet, at: