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Introduction and Mission Response Team (MRT)On February 1, 2003 the Space Shuttle Columbia, returning to Earth with a crew of seven astronauts, disintegrated along a track extending from California to Louisiana. Observers on the ground filmed breakup of the spacecraft. Debris fell along a 567 statute mile track from Littlefield, Texas to Fort Polk, Louisiana; the largest ever recorded debris field. At the time of the accident the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) flight surgeon on-duty at the Mission Control Center (MCC) in Houston, Texas initiated the medical contingency response. The DOD surgeon at Patrick Air Force Base was notified, NASA medical personnel were recalled and the services of Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) were requested. Subsequent to the accident the NASA flight surgeons that had supported the crew on orbit now provided medical support to the crewmember s families. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and numerous other federal, state and local agencies along with the citizens of Texas and Louisiana responded to the disaster. Search and recovery was managed from a Disaster Field Office (DFO) established in Lufkin, Texas. Mishap Investigation Team (MIT) medical operations were managed from Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Accident investigation teams (Columbia Accident Investigation Task Force (CAITF) and Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB)) appointed immediately after the disaster included current and former authorities in space medicine. In August 2003, the CAIB concluded its investigation and released its findings in a report published in February 2004.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pool, Sam (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
May 9, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Aeromedical Lessons from the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation
Subject Category
Space Transportation and Safety
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20080029207Analytic PrimaryAeromedical Lessons from the Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation