98-09-16

September 16, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INVESTIGATION BOARD MOVES TO DENVER

CAPE CANAVERAL AIR STATION, Fla. – The Titan IVA-20 Accident Investigation Board is relocating to Denver, Colo., according to Air Force officials.

The move will allow investigators to work more closely with the Engineering Analysis Board, according to Maj. Gen. Robert C. Hinson, AIB president. The EAB is a joint Air Force, Lockheed Martin, and National Reconnaissance Office team of experts appointed to analyze the entire Titan IVA-20 launch process from an engineering standpoint. The AIB will integrate the data it collects into a report which is releasable to the public.

"Logistically, the move makes sense," Hinson said. "We will be able to coordinate efforts more efficiently."

The AIB announced Sept. 2, that the Titan IVA-20 failure appears to be related to an anomaly within the electrical and guidance compartment. The Air Force is working to determine the specific cause of the malfunction.

Hinson said the Navy search and salvage team will continue the arduous task of combing the ocean for debris from the Titan IVA-20 mishap. Despite the rough seas brought on by Hurricanes Bonnie and Danielle, the 61-member dive team has been able to recover approximately 30 percent of the launch vehicle and 80 percent of the spacecraft.

The divers are using side-scan sonar equipment and metal detectors to survey the impact area in search of some remaining critical components on the ocean floor.

"We believe some of these components may be essential to the final analysis of mishap cause," Hinson said.

Note to editors/reporters: If you have any questions about the Titan IVA-20 investigation, you may contact Capt. LeWonnie Belcher at (407) 476-3436 until Sept. 18. She can be reached at (303) 971-3693 effective Sept. 21. Send faxes to (303) 971-2516.