Kirsten Williams Larson

Headquarters, Washington, DC

(Phone: 202/358-0243)

Bruce Buckingham

Kennedy Space Center, FL

(Phone: 321/867-2468)

RELEASE: 00-165

NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin today recognized members
of the Space Shuttle ice and debris inspection team at Kennedy
Space Center, FL, for their keen safety observations prior to the
recent launch of Space Shuttle Discovery.

Gregory N. Katnik and Jorge E. Rivera of NASA received the
Agency’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, while Michael Barber, John
B. Blue and Thomas F. Ford of United Space Alliance and D. Scott
Otto of Lockheed Martin Space Services Company received the NASA
Public Service Medal.

On Oct. 10, the team found a stray 4-inch pin near the shuttle’s
external fuel tank while using binoculars to scan launch pad 39A
several hours before the launch of STS-92. The discovery delayed
the shuttle mission 24 hours, allowing the team to retrieve the
pin and clear the shuttle for a safe launch. If not removed, the
pin could have damaged the space shuttle’s thermal protection
system or could have been sucked into one of the main engines
during launch, causing damage there.

“Safety is NASA’s number one priority, and this team exemplifies
our commitment. The Agency is extremely proud of the inspection
team for placing astronaut safety above adherence to launch
schedules,” said Goldin.

The Exceptional Achievement Medal is awarded for a significant
contributions characterized by a substantial and significant
improvement in operations, efficiency, service, financial savings,
science or technology, which contribute to the mission of NASA.
The Public Service Medal is awarded to non-government individuals
who make exceptional contributions to the mission of NASA.

Media representatives can arrange an interview with a member of
the inspection team by calling the Kennedy Press Site at 321/867-

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