Testing the Orion crew module using air bearings.
Learning to Be an Engineer

By Adam Harding   A new engineer’s career with NASA usually begins by being tossed into the deep end. You are immediately handed real-world engineering challenges and face the overwhelming data, procedures, and calculations needed to solve them.

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Backdropped by Earth, Discovery approaches the International Space Station
Taking a Risk to Avoid Risk

By John McManamen   One of the many lessons I’ve learned during my career is we aren’t always as smart as we think we are. When we discovered large oscillations occurring during docking between the Space Shuttle and International Space Station (ISS), I had a chance to learn that lesson again.

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Close-up detail of the surface of one of Josh Simpson’s glass “Planet” sculptures.
On the Cover Issue 43, Summer 2011

Close-up detail of the surface of one of Josh Simpson’s glass “Planet” sculptures. Inspired in part by photographs taken by Astronaut Cady Coleman, his wife, he creates his fantasy planets in his studio in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. Photo Credit: Tommy Olof Elder

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Expecting the Unexpected
Expecting the Unexpected

By Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina   Even a genius team can never anticipate every possible risk that might occur on a project. Before unexpected risks rear their ugly heads, create a mitigation plan for dealing with the risk of not knowing what could happen.

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FASTSAT’
FAST Learning

By Matthew Kohut   “Fast” is the word that best describes Tom Simon’s experience working at Marshall Space Flight Center on the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite (FASTSAT), a microsatellite designed to carry six small experiments into space.

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An engineer looks on as the stacked STEREO spacecraft undergo a spin balance test. Photo Credit: NASA
Fixing a Troubled Project

By Nick Chrissotimos   The three main areas that can lead a project down a slippery slope are team dynamics, technical development issues, or those things outside the project’s control—external support, problems, or direction.

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A Lexan box (left) from the original candle experiment and a wire-mesh box later used on Mir.
Human Spaceflight and Science

By Howard Ross   Intentionally igniting a fire inside the Space Shuttle might seem like a bad idea, but done safely and correctly, it could answer all sorts of seemingly simple questions, such as, “Would a candle burn in zero gravity?”

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Elevation of Ulyxis Rupes created using a digital terrain model obtained from the high-resolution stereo camera on ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft.
From Masters with Masters: Rob Manning and Rudi Schmidt

In February 2011, Academy of Program/Project and Engineering Leadership Director Ed Hoffman sat down with Rudi Schmidt, from the European Space Agency (ESA), and NASA’s Rob Manning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) as part of the Academy’s Masters with Masters series.

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