Space: March 18, 2000


NASA did not have a good year in 1999. Two Mars probes disappeared in what appeared to be outright botched planning, space shuttle flights were delayed, the Hubble Space Telescope temporarily shut down, and other missions were delayed or never launched. A series of audits and outside reports laid the blame squarely on management, noting that goals were not set, management failed to ensure success, and when there was not enough money for the missions NASA failed to recognize this and trim the missions to the available money. NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" concept placed too much emphasis on cost and schedule and too little on management, oversight, leadership, and evaluating risks. NASA is expected to cancel or delay many of its planned Mars missions. --Stephen V Cole


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