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Columbia investigation could cost $500 million
Posted: Sun, Mar 16, 2003, 2:03 PM ET (1903 GMT)
STS-107 patch (NASA) The cost of the investigation into the loss of the space shuttle Columbia could reach a half-billion dollars, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The Times used estimates from both government agencies and outside analysts to conclude that the total cost of the investigation alone — excluding the cost any upgrades to the shuttle — could reach $500 million. That amount includes $302 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) estimates the hunt for shuttle debris will cost, as well as $50 million appropriated by Congress for the investigation and an additional $150 million in wages and salaries of the people involved in the investigation. The Associated Press reported last week that, as of March 6, the debris search had already cost over $137 million. By comparison, the Challenger investigation cost $175 million, including $100 million in debris recovery costs. The most expensive airline accident investigation in the US, the loss of TWA Flight 800 in 1996, cost $35 million.
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