To address recent launch vehicle failures, Boeing announced today that an independent panel of experts will examine the company's mission assurance processes and procedures to strengthen its expendable launch vehicle reliability. The panel will review Delta, Sea Launch and Inertial Upper Stage (IUS) programs.
Dr. Sheila E. Widnall, former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and current professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will chair the Boeing Mission Assurance Review Team.
The team is tasked with examining organizational roles and responsibilities within Boeing, recent launch failure investigation findings, processes used for government, civil and commercial launches as well as the acceptance processes for major subsystems and complex assemblies from suppliers. In addition, the team will look at the manufacturing, assembly, transportation and storage activities of the Boeing launch programs.
This panel also will participate, as requested, with on-going government reviews, such as the Space Launch Broad Area Review ordered last month by President Clinton.
James F. Albaugh, president of the Boeing Space and Communications Group, commissioned the Team. The Team is committed to completing a report containing findings and recommendations by this Fall.
"We expressly selected team members with a broad range of senior-level systems experience in aerospace - from satellites to academia to launch vehicles," said Albaugh. "The technical knowledge and breadth of this independent panel, as well as its extensive background in mission assurance, will be invaluable in strengthening our reliability. This is important to us and to our customers."
During Dr. Widnall's tenure as Secretary, the Air Force formulated its long-range vision which defined the path from the "Air Force and Space" of today to the "Air and Space Force" of the next century. In addition to her current role as an institute professor at MIT, Dr. Widnall is vice president of the National Academy of Engineering and president-elect of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Members of the team include:
General Donald J. Kutyna (U.S. Air Force retired), vice president, Space Technology, Loral Space and Communications. Prior to his current position, General Kutyna served as commander-in-chief of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the United States Space Command. He currently is a member of the president's Space Launch Broad Area Review Senior Steering Group. General Kutyna participated as a member of the presidential commission investigating the Space Shuttle Challenger accident.
Steven D. Dorfman, recently retired as vice chairman, Hughes Electronics Corporation. Dorfman's contributions include the development of several satellite systems, as well as the initiation of the direct broadcast satellite and mobile satellite programs. Earlier in his career, he directed the NASA Pioneer Venus program for Hughes. Dorfman is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Dr. Eberhardt Rechtin, former president of the Aerospace Corporation. While serving as president, Dr. Rechtin oversaw mission assurance for national security space systems including launch vehicles. After retiring from that role, Dr. Rechtin joined the University of Southern California to establish its graduate program in systems architecture. Dr. Rechtin, now retired from the university, is the author of two systems architecture books and a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
George W. Jeffs, former president, North American Space Operations, Rockwell International. Jeffs directed the company's Apollo command and service modules programs through nine lunar and three Skylab missions, and led the company's efforts on the Space Shuttle program. Jeffs also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Frederick H. Hauck is president and chief executive officer of AXA Space, a leading underwriter of space insurance, providing coverage for both commercial and government space projects worldwide. Hauck joined AXA Space after completing a 28-year Navy career as a combat pilot, test pilot and a Space Shuttle astronaut. In his last military assignment, he served as Director of Navy Space Systems in the Pentagon. He is a Fellow of both the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
The Mission Assurance Review Team is separate from the current investigations into the April 9 IUS and May 4 Delta III launch failures. Information from the investigations will be shared with the Review Team.
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