Duke Panel to Examine Implications of Space Shuttle Accident

DURHAM, N.C. -- Should the nation’s space shuttle program be scrapped as a result of the shuttle Columbia tragedy or should the remaining three winged spaceships continue to fly well into the next decade? What about the International Space Station or proposals to travel to Mars?

These are some of the issues that will be discussed by a three-man panel at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering Thursday, Feb. 20, from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in Room 203 of the Teer Engineering Library. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Participants, to be introduced by Pratt Dean Kristina M. Johnson, will be Earl Dowell, J.A. Jones Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Sciences at Duke; Alex Roland, professor of history at Duke; and Al Rossiter Jr., director of communications for the Pratt School of Engineering.

Dowell was on the original panel that reviewed the technology of the shuttle’s thermal protection system and later was a member of a national panel that recommended Congress fund the International Space Station. Roland, who studies military history and the history of technology, is a critic of the shuttle program. Rossiter was manager of United Press International’s Cape Canaveral Bureau from 1963 to 1973 and covered the space program for UPI for 25 years.