Public Inquiries

John F. Kennedy Space Center,
Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899
Phone: 321.867.5000
Email: Public Inquiries

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Debris Research

With sights set on the future of space flight, NASA provides Columbia debris material for research to the aerospace and educational industry.  NASA believes permitting access to the debris will allow companies to design and build safer, more reliable components for future spacecraft, as well as developing technologies that improve safety and further knowledge about the effects of reentry.

Scientific, academic and governmental organizations interested are asked to submit their requests.  This request should detail their previous experience, plans for use of the orbiter debris, and the scientific benefits expected to be gained by their research.

Currently there are more than 60 loan requests that have been received by the Columbia Research & Preservation Office and numerous pieces of debris constantly out on loan. In time, more pieces of Columbia are expected to be loaned for testing and used to expand the understanding of the rigors of space flight.

The mission of Space Shuttle Columbia continues today by shedding light on the reentry process, helping to create a foundation for the spacecraft of tomorrow, and to educate new generations.

Type of Research Being Conducted

Who What Why
Lehigh University Material/Failure Analysis for Graduate Students. Educational
Caterpillar, Inc Reconstructing the processes material underwent to reach its existing State. Educational
NASA Johnson Space Center Development of on-orbit RCC drill/reamer and other on-orbit RCC Repair Hardware. Flight
Illinois Aviation Museum Materials Science and Engineering Education Educational
NASA Orbiter Project Office Investigation into a certification issues involving the potential for fiber damage and explosion hazards. Flight


KNPR Forms/Documents

 Document Number  Description
KNPR 8621.1 Columbia Research and Preservation


 Form Number  Description
KDP-F-3402 Columbia Debris Loan Request,
Space Shuttle Program External
KDP-F-3401 Columbia Debris Loan Request,
Space Shuttle Program Internal
Columbia Tour Request Columbia Tour Request Form


Space Program Accident Reports


+ Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report
+ Columbia Crew Survivability Report


+ Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle
   Challenger Accident

Apollo 1

+ Apollo 204 Review Board Final Report

Boeing Debris Impact Assessment Charts (02-21-03)
Three sets of charts, from January 21, January 23, and January 24, were part of an analysis conducted during the STS-107 mission of the impact of external tank foam debris striking Columbia during ascent. The analysis was presented to the STS-107 Mission Management Team on Jan. 27 with the conclusion that the effects of the debris did not pose a safety of flight concern for Columbia. Mission managers concurred with that conclusion. These charts do not represent a comprehensive look at the analysis, which included extensive verbal communication, and took place over more than a week while Columbia was in orbit. All open work shown on these charts was completed and reported to Space Shuttle management.

+ View January 21 charts - Acrobat PDF
+ View January 23 charts - Acrobat PDF
+ View January 24 charts - Acrobat PDF