Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program

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JHU Press, Dec 26, 2001 - Business & Economics - 173 pages
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In Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program, Howard E. McCurdy examines NASA's recent efforts to save money while improving mission frequency and performance. McCurdy details the sixteen missions undertaken during the 1990s—including an orbit of the moon, deployment of three space telescopes, four Earth-orbiting satellites, two rendezvous with comets and asteroids, and a test of an ion propulsion engine—which cost less than the sum traditionally spent on a single, conventionally planned planetary mission. He shows how these missions employed smaller spacecraft and cheaper technology to undertake less complex and more specific tasks in outer space. While the technological innovation and space exploration approach that McCurdy describes is still controversial, the historical perspective on its disappointments and triumphs points to ways of developing "faster, better, and cheaper" as a management manifesto.

 

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Contents

The Reform
1
The Nature of the Challenge
13
Cost Control
31
The Philosophy
44
Mars Pathfinder
61
Organization
79
Technology
106
Risk and Reliability
123
Future Implications
138
Notes
157
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About the author (2001)

Howard E. McCurdy is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University.