Status Report: 00-001

Following the transition to the Year 2000, computer and communication
systems managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Ala., continued in a “green” status, meaning the systems were not
significantly affected by the transition from 1999 to 2000.

During the primary monitoring period (6 a.m. CST Dec. 31 through 2 p.m.
Jan. 3) the Marshall Center experienced only a few minor anomalies that
were easily fixed.

Marshall officials attributed the trouble-free transition to thorough preparation.
“As part of a federal agency, we had to develop and implement a plan by
March 1999 to have the ‘Y2K problem’ fixed. And we did that,” said Sheila
Fogle, Y2K project manager for Marshall’s Information Services Department.

Fogle led the Information Services Department Y2K Team established in
1996 — the same year the federal government ordered all agencies to begin
steps toward Y2K compliance. To be compliant, computers had to be
upgraded or replaced, to ensure they correctly read a two-digit year code “00”
as the Year 2000. Otherwise, the date might be misread as 1900, causing
computers to malfunction or shut down.

“We viewed the Y2K issue as a business problem, not a computer problem,”
said Fogle. “If computers and communications equipment don’t work, we
can’t do business, whether it is a NASA or contractor system, whether it is
space-related software or a payroll system.”

To ensure the Marshall-managed systems made a smooth transition, a Y2K
Control Center was staffed, and additional personnel were on-call, beginning
New Year’s Eve through Jan. 3.

“We opened the Control Center the morning of Dec. 31, to monitor what was
happening in time zones east of us,” said Fogle. “If we saw a pattern of
recurring problems in other parts of the world, we would have rechecked our
systems. We knew there could be outside influences, such as power
outages, so we were prepared to handle whatever might come our way.”