Lufkin, TX -- The management of search operations for East Texas and select areas of Nevada, Utah and New Mexico will be handed off to NASA by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on April 30. On that date, NASA takes over all management functions with the establishment of a Columbia Recovery Office (CRO) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Facts as of April 24 -
- Palestine and Hemphill base camps are closed. Nacogdoches and Corsicana camps are expected to close during the first week in May. Barksdale's debris receiving facility closes on May 7 and the Longview demobilization facility closes on May 8. The Disaster Field Office in Lufkin closes May 10.
- A total of 157 Texas counties initially reporting shuttle material finds have been cleared. Only 10 counties remain open.
- Ground crews have searched more than 640,500 assigned acres and report being 92% finished.
- Air search operations have completed 634 of the 643 assigned grids and report being 99% finished.
- Shuttle material recovered has amounted to 82,300 pounds or 37% of the estimated Columbia weight.
- Ground crews have logged a total of 1.4 million search-hours. They have averaged covering 3.8 acres per day per searcher.
- To date no confirmed shuttle debris has been located west of Littlefield, Texas or east of Ft. Polk, Louisiana.
The CRO will maintain the established NASA toll-free debris hot line at 866-446-6603. This number is to be used by anyone suspecting they may have discovered a piece of shuttle debris.