Microscopy & Microtechniques

The Role of Materials Degradation and Analysis in the Space shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation

May 05 2006

Author: Steve McDanels, NASA, Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA on behalf of International Labmate Ltd

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Delegates at MICROSCIENCE 2006 will have a unique opportunity to learn more about one of the most high profile materials failure programmes ever launched. Steve McDanels, manager of NASA’s Failure Analysis and Materials Evaluation Branch at the Kennedy Space Center has been invited to give a special Plenary Session on June 27th, the first day of the Conference. He will detail the light and electron microscopy techniques, as well as their associated chemical analysis techniques, that NASA scientists have employed in their search for the causes of the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on February 1, 2003. As well as giving an insight into the depth of the investigation into the Shuttle mission STS-107 disaster, McDanels will talk about NASA’s continuing return to flight efforts and the impact the investigations are making on the design and construction of the next generation of space vehicles. At MICROSIENCE 2006, McDanels will release the latest findings from the investigation. Here, in a special preview, he sets out the scope of the investigation and the findings so far.

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