April 4, 2006
Mishap mangles shuttle part
Panel investigates new KSC accident
BY TODD HALVORSON
NASA launched an investigation Monday into yet another shuttle
workplace accident: serious damage to a nearly half-million-dollar
power controller that routes electricity to critical orbiter systems.
The incident, which occurred last week at a shuttle spare parts depot
in Cape Canaveral, followed a recent rash of accidents that have
resulted in damage to shuttle orbiters and the death of a construction
Two other investigation boards have met to determine the cause of two
of those incidents in hopes of preventing similar mishaps in the future.
The estimated cost of replacing the power controller damaged last week
would be $452,710, according to a Kennedy Space Center mishap report.
Investigators are not yet certain whether replacement will be required.
“That hasn’t been determined,” KSC spokeswoman Tracy Young said.
Less costly repairs might be an option.
A five-member board tapped to investigate the matter met for the first
The initial mishap report said the damage occurred March 27 during an
engineering evaluation of the power controller. A power-input
connector had been installed backwards. That caused the flow of
electricity to be reversed, damaging the controller during testing.
The controller is one of three used to route electricity from a
shuttle’s power-generating fuel cells to orbiter systems. The devices
are considered critical during launch, flight, atmospheric re-entry
The mishap followed a series of workplace accidents that prompted NASA
last month to order a safety standdown at KSC.
Dating back to January, the incidents included a small fire at the KSC
Vehicle Assembly Building, damage to a 50-foot shuttle robot arm and
the death of a construction worker performing roof repairs.
Contact Halvorson at 639-0576 or email@example.com