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The Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report - Volume 1
August 2003

The Columbia Accident Investigation Board today presented its final report on the causes of the Feb. 1, 2003 Space Shuttle accident to the White House, Congress and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The CAIB report concludes that while NASA's present Space Shuttle is not inherently unsafe, a number of mechanical fixes are required to make the Shuttle safer in the short term. The report also concludes that NASA's management system is unsafe to manage the shuttle system beyond the short term and that the agency does not have a strong safety culture.

The Board determined that physical and organizational causes played an equal role in the Columbia accident - that the NASA organizational culture had as much to do with the accident as the foam that struck the Orbiter on ascent. The report also notes other significant factors and observations that may help prevent the next accident.

The Board crafted the report to serve as a framework for a national debate about the future of human space flight, but suggests that it is in the nation's interest to replace the Shuttle as soon as possible as the primary means for transporting humans to and from Earth orbit.

The Board makes 29 recommendations in the 248-page final report, including 15 return-to-flight recommendations that should be implemented before the Shuttle Program returns to flight.

These files are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

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