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Panel: NASA's 'faster, better, cheaper' philosophy permitted unacceptable risks

Illustration of Mars Climate Orbiter
 

March 13, 2000
Web posted at: 6:27 p.m. EST (2327 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- One of two panels assessing NASA's "Faster, Better, Cheaper" philosophy said Monday the space agency had been able "to do more with less" but had allowed too much risk on some missions.

The U.S. space agency "failed to install sufficient rigor in risk management throughout the mission lifecycle," the panel said. "These actions have increased risk to an unacceptable level on those projects."

The conclusions are in a second-phase report by the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board, which has been looking into the loss of that spacecraft.

  MESSAGE BOARD
 

The report's recommendations for the agency include:

  • Starting with top-notch people, and creating a cultural environment in which they can excel.
  • Improving adherance to established procedures. Most mission failures and serious errors can be traced to a failure to follow established procedures, according to the report.
  • Actively foster the development of new technology that can produce components that are higher in performance, lower in mass and cheaper to deploy.

The Mars Climate Orbiter was lost on September 23, 1999, when it entered the martian atmosphere at a lower than expected trajectory.

NASA thinks it burned up in the atmosphere because some scientists performed critical flight calculations in metric units while others used English measurements.




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RELATED SITES:
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