“Drowning in Process” – The great space slowdown
I’ve always found it hard to understand exactly why NASA’s rocket and spacecraft building programmes are so much slower and costlier today, after half a century’s accumulated experience, than they were in the glory days of the 1960s.
Wayne Hale has been describing some of the problems of doing space engineering at NASA. With his 32 years of experience at NASA before his retirement, including positions as Space Shuttle Program Manager or Deputy Manager for 5 years and Space Shuttle Flight Director for 40 missions, he has an intimate acquaintance with what it takes to get into space.
From his latest post: “I have a cheap seat view of the Orion/SLS development. My basic observation: those efforts are drowning in ‘process’”.
There is no engineering perfection, nor is there such a thing as 100.000% reliability or safety.