In 1999, the Wide-field Infrared Explorer (WIRE) lost its primary mission thirty-six hours after launch. Those who worked on WIRE, which was the fifth of the Explorer Program’s Small Explorer-class missions, thought they had done what they needed to achieve success.
By Karl Saad Along with a half dozen NASA centers, the European Space Agency (ESA), and a variety of academic and industry partners, the Canadian Space Agency has been working on its contribution to the James Webb Space Telescope.
By Roger Forsgren Like most people, project managers and engineers may have an interest in history without realizing that understanding the past can help them better understand and manage the present. Studying the past can be an opportunity to see how leaders overcame daunting obstacles to achieve their goals.
By Haley Stephenson The Bloodhound Supersonic Car aims to set a new land-speed record and a new standard for openness in projects.
By Holly R. Gilbert We inhabitants of Earth have an intimate and complex relationship with the sun. As we learn more about the underlying physics driving the magnetic ball of plasma that is essential for our very existence, the complexity of that relationship becomes increasingly apparent.
By Jan Chodas Dr. Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, and the Juno team had been working toward this milestone for several years. A mission of this length and complexity required careful planning and testing to increase its chances of success.
Don Cohen, Managing Editor In their frank analysis of the failure of the Wide-field Infrared Explorers primary mission (“WIRE: Learning from Failure”), Bryan Fafaul and Kerry Ellis explain that this project based on “insight, not oversight” didn’t have enough of either.