Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
- February 1999.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- This report covers the activities of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) for calendar year 1998-a year of sharp contrasts and significant successes at NASA. The year opened with the announcement of large workforce cutbacks. The slip in the schedule for launching the International Space Station (ISS) created a five-month hiatus in Space Shuttle launches. This slack period ended with the successful and highly publicized launch of the STS-95 mission. As the year closed, ISS assembly began with the successful orbiting and joining of the Functional Cargo Block (FGB), Zarya, from Russia and the Unity Node from the United States. Throughout the year, the Panel maintained its scrutiny of NASA's safety processes. Of particular interest were the potential effects on safety of workforce reductions and the continued transition of functions to the Space Flight Operations Contractor. Attention was also given to the risk management plans of the Aero-Space Technology programs, including the X-33, X-34, and X-38. Overall, the Panel concluded that safety is well served for the present. The picture is not as clear for the future. Cutbacks have limited the depth of talent available. In many cases, technical specialties are 'one deep.' The extended hiring freeze has resulted in an older workforce that will inevitably suffer significant departures from retirements in the near future. The resulting 'brain drain' could represent a future safety risk unless appropriate succession planning is started expeditiously. This and other topics are covered in the section addressing workforce. The major NASA programs are also limited in their ability to plan property for the future. This is of particular concern for the Space Shuttle and ISS because these programs are scheduled to operate well into the next century. In the case of the Space Shuttle, beneficial and mandatory safety and operational upgrades are being delayed because of a lack of sufficient present funding. Likewise, the ISS has little flexibility to begin long lead-time items for upgrades or contingency planning. For example, the section on computer hardware and software contains specific findings related to required longer range safety-related actions. NASA can be proud of its accomplishments this past year, but must remain ever vigilant, particularly as ISS assembly begins to accelerate. The Panel will continue to focus on both the short- and long-term aspects of risk management and safety planning. This task continues to be made manageable and productive by the excellent cooperation the Panel receives from both NASA and its contractors. Particular emphasis will continue to be directed to longer term workforce and program planning issues as well as the immediate risks associated with ISS assembly and the initial flights of the X-33 and X-34. Section 2 of this report presents specific findings and recommendations generated by ASAP activities during 1998. Section 3 contains more detailed information in support of these findings and recommendations. Appendix A is a current roster of Panel members, consultants, and staff. Appendix B contains NASA's response to the findings and recommendations from the 1997 ASAP Annual Report. Appendix C details the fact-finding activities of the Panel in 1998. During the year, Mr. Richard D. Blomberg was elected chair of the Panel and Vice Admiral (VADM) Robert F Dunn was elected deputy chair. VADM Bernard M. Kauderer moved from consultant to member. Mr. Charles J. Donlan retired from the Panel after many years of meritorious service. Ms. Shirley C. McCarty and Mr. Robert L. ('Hoot') Gibson joined the Panel as consultants.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20010056601.
- No Copyright.
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