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Recent launch failures

I received this from a mailing list dedicated to amateur built rockets. 
Since we launch our satellites on rockets which have shown a tendency to
blow up of late, this may be of interest to AMSAT-BB readers.

      Subject: recent launch failures
         Date: Sat, 31 Jul 1999 08:15:16 -0700
         From: Stewart Cobb <stu@IntegriNautics.COM>
     Reply-To: erps-list@LunaCity.com
 Organization: IntegriNautics
           To: erps-list@LunaCity.com

Aviation Week's web site has several articles by longtime editor
William B. Scott about the "crisis in aerospace".  Well worth
reading.  The gist is that aerospace systems are too complicated
to build and run without smart, talented, creative, motivated
engineers.  In the past, such people were drawn to aerospace for
the challenge.  Today they can find challenges elsewhere, and
they're leaving the 1950's-style rigid, hierarchichal management
policies of the old-line aeropacee companies for aerospace
startups (ERPS) or non-aerospace (internet) careers.

"Multiple failed space launches during the last year
have triggered several technical and safety investigations
into "processes" that affect quality, but the real,
more-subtle causes may be found in how the aerospace
industry handles its people, according to experts
who have studied problematic programs."

"Experience can mean the difference between a program's success
and failure....  Managers and human resources departments should
resist a "plug-and-play" philosophy that assumes like-credentials
translate to equal abilities.  Aerospace has unintentionally rid
itself of critical software engineers and programmers, for example,
"and I don't think the companies even know they're gone,"
said Michael C. Davis....  "They've [often] eliminated the really
smart guy who's holding everything together, simply because he's
making 20% more than the guy next to him. But they may have
eliminated 40% of their overall software knowledge for a 20%
savings," Davis said.  "That's been going on for 10 years.
That's why rockets blow up." 

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