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By Jill K. Mulhall, M.Ed.

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The reasons were many: reductions in resources and staffing, a shift toward a History and Policy 33 “production mode” of operation, and the optimism engendered by long periods without major mishap. However, the major factor leading to concerns was the reduction in resource allocations and staff devoted to safety processes. SIAT warned that performance success engendered safety optimism. It raised concerns about risk management process erosion that had been created by the desire to reduce costs.

By pushing the technological envelope and experimenting with new technologies he wanted to increase mission frequency and achieve both improved quality and reduced costs. By using smaller spacecraft and more frequent missions his approach aimed to spread the risk of one large failure. In the beginning he pitched an FBC that would not compromise safety or mission reliability. In introducing the FBC strategy on May 28, 1992, for example, he told NASA’s employees: “Tell us how we can implement our missions in a more cost-effective manner.

5). The other was the emphasis on efficiency goals rather than safety goals. The questionable choice of contractors and the design of a faulty gasket in the shuttle’s solid rocket booster – two factors that played a role in the subsequent 1986 Challenger disaster – were affected by the budget constraints imposed at the beginning of the 1970s. A longerterm consequence, the compromised technological design of the shuttle, is still in effect. As succinctly explained in the CAIB report (chapter 1): In retrospect, the increased complexity of a shuttle, designed to be all things to all people created inherited greater risks than if a more realistic technological goal had been set at the start.

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