NASA Email Discussion of Possible Landing Gear Failure Modes

During the STS-107 mission, the review of the potential effects of the debris hit to Columbia?s left wing at ~80 seconds after liftoff resulted in a determination that there should not be any adverse affect on mission safety. On January 28, Tuesday, when the thermal analysis was completed, engineers and flight controllers at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) responsible for mechanical systems, including the landing gear system, contacted counterparts at the NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) to get an assessment of potential outcomes in the unlikely event that the landing gear door or wheel well was breached during the orbiter?s reentry into Earth?s atmosphere.

The interchange is typical of what takes place during a mission. Often, the broader NASA community is involved in evaluating potential issues. The Langley engineer identified no new concerns or failure conditions that had not previously been examined by Johnson engineers and flight controllers. For this reason, there was no reason to elevate the points raised in the discussion to the Mission Management Team.

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