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New bill would create independent shuttle accident panels
Posted: Tue, Jun 17, 2003, 10:32 AM ET (1432 GMT)
Legislation introduced in Congress last week by a prominent House Democrat would require the creation of a fully independent investigation board in the event of a future shuttle accident. HR 2450, the Human Space Flight Independent Investigation Commission Act, would require the creation of a 15-member commission to investigate any accidents that involve the loss of the shuttle, International Space Station, other US manned space vehicles, or other vehicles carrying Americans. Fourteen of the members would be chosen by the President, with the fifteenth being the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. None of the members would be allowed to be NASA employees or have other contractural ties to the space agency. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), ranking minority member of the space subcommittee of the House Science Committee, after concerns that the current Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) is not fully independent of NASA. The legislation has 18 cosponsors in the House, including former House Science Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
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