University of California Version Control & Space Shuttle Challenger Case Study Access the following attached PDF: Aviation Project Management (Flouris & L

University of California Version Control & Space Shuttle Challenger Case Study Access the following attached PDF:

Aviation Project Management (Flouris & Lock, 2008) (Attached.)

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(2) Review the following Case from the Flouris & Lock text:

A Version Control Problem and its Novel Solution (pages 242 – 243)

(3) Access the following attached PDF:

Project Management Case Studies (Kerzner, 2006) (Attached.)

(4) Review the following Case from the Kerzner text:

The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster (pages 403 – 452)

For each case study, and assuming the perspective role of a Human Resources Representative, consider how you would address the following case study questions:

1. What are the key issues surrounding this case?

2. What is the nature of the problems that exist?

3. Identify opportunities that may be involved.

4. In what ways were problems resolved or leveraged?

5. Recommend and justify additional courses of action that are most likely to be effective.

Human Resources Representative

Job responsibilities: Accomplishes human resource objectives by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, assigning, scheduling, coaching, counseling, and disciplining employees; communicating job expectations; planning, monitoring, appraising, and reviewing job contributions; planning and reviewing compensation actions; enforcing policies and procedures. 242
av i at i o n p r o j e c t m a n a g e m e n t
Sufficient information must be given in the build schedule to identify not only documents
produced within the project organization, but also drawings and specifications received
from the suppliers of parts and components.
In the event of an in-flight malfunction, whether or not an accident results, it is vital to
be able to trace all other aircraft in service with the same build, so that faults found in the
malfunctioning aircraft can be prevented in all other aircraft in service that have the same
build status. The same argument applies, but with greater emphasis, to faults found after
an accident.
Prompt traceability is even more important when information from the flight data
recorder, cockpit voice recorder, and accident investigation reports has to be acted upon
promptly to prevent repeat further tragedies in similar aircraft still in service. Build records
need to show not only the build status of the airplane and, in turn, all of its components,
but also the source of every component (who made or supplied it). For example, if a bolt
fractures because of a flaw in the raw material from which it was made, the investigators
must be able to trace back at least to the name of the company that manufactured these
bolts so that all other aircraft fitted with them can be identified, grounded, inspected and,
if necessary, modified.
Clear marking on every assembly of its part number and serial number is another
essential part of the traceability process.
Copyright © 2008. Routledge. All rights reserved.
Case example: a version control problem and
its novel solution
This case example concerns the same project for the supply of automatic test equipments
mentioned earlier in this chapter in the context of a simple change pricing procedure.
At the time of this case, six trailers were parked in the assembly bay undergoing final
commissioning before dispatch to the airfield. All trailers were of identical build, but each
contained a large number of electronic modules, all individually serial numbered. It was
essential for subsequent version control and traceability that the company kept a record
of every trailer when it was shipped, with a complete build schedule listing not only the
individual module part numbers but also their serial numbers.
Commissioning on these ATE trailers was a continuous process, running through
nights and weekends over several weeks, including times when all the main design staff
and managers were asleep or at leisure. Unfortunately the commissioning engineers,
driven by urgency, developed a habit of exchanging modules between different trailers in
attempts to identify faults. Thus build schedule integrity was quickly becoming lost.
The engineering manager solved the problem by purchasing six clock card racks, of the
type once common on factory walls just inside the staff entrance. The slots in these racks
were labeled so that, for each trailer, one slot corresponded to a module in the trailer.
There were sufficient slots to cover all the modules, and each rack was wall mounted
adjacent to one of the six trailers. The slot labels were located in a pattern equivalent to
the ‘goes into chart’ for each trailer.
Flouris, T. G., & Lock, D. (2008). Aviation project management. Retrieved from
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c h a p t e r 11 • M a n a g i n g c h a n g e s
Copyright © 2008. Routledge. All rights reserved.
Next, all the inspection tickets were removed from all the modules in all the trailers, and
these tickets were placed in their relevant slots in the clock card racks. Now each clock card
rack was effectively a model of the build schedule for the trailer which it represented.
Then, the commissioning engineers were warned, under threat of dire penalty, that
every time they swapped two modules between trailers, the relevant final inspection
labels must simultaneously be exchanged in the corresponding clock card racks.
Commissioning engineers working late at night, and on long shifts, do not take
kindly to clerical tasks. However, they had no excuse for failing to observe the simple
system that was asked of them, and the integrity of the build schedules (and version
control) was restored.
Flouris, T. G., & Lock, D. (2008). Aviation project management. Retrieved from
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Copyright © 2008. Routledge. All rights reserved.
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Flouris, T. G., & Lock, D. (2008). Aviation project management. Retrieved from
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Copyright © 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
The Space Shuttle
Challenger Disaster
On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted off the launch pad at 11:38
A.M., beginning the flight of mission 51-L. Approximately seventy-four seconds
into the flight, the Challenger was engulfed in an explosive burn and all communication and telemetry ceased. Seven brave crewmembers lost their lives. On board
the Challenger were Francis R. (Dick) Scobee (commander), Michael John Smith
(pilot), Ellison S. Onizuka (mission specialist one), Judith Arlene Resnik (mission
specialist two), Ronald Erwin McNair (mission specialist three), S. Christa McAuliffe
(payload specialist one), and Gregory Bruce Jarvis (payload specialist two). A faulty
seal, or O-ring, on one of the two solid rocket boosters caused the accident.
Following the accident, significant energy was expended trying to ascertain
whether the accident had been predictable. Controversy arose from the desire to
assign, or to avoid, blame. Some publications called it a management failure,
specifically in risk management, while others called it a technical failure.
Whenever accidents had occurred in the past at the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA), an internal investigation team had been formed.
The first digit indicates the fiscal year of the launch (i.e., “5” means 1985). The second number indicates the launch site (i.e., “1” is the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, “2” is Vandenberg Air Force
Base in California). The letter represents the mission number (i.e., “C” would be the third mission
scheduled). This designation system was implemented after Space Shuttle flights one through nine,
which were designated STS-X. STS is the Space Transportation System and X would indicate the
flight number.
Kerzner, H. (2008). Project management. Retrieved from
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But in this case, perhaps because of the visibility, the White House took the initiative in appointing an independent commission. There did exist significant justification for the commission. NASA was in a state of disarray, especially in the
management ranks. The agency had been without a permanent administrator for
almost four months. The turnover rate at the upper echelons of management was
significantly high, and there seemed to be a lack of direction from the top down.
Another reason for appointing a Presidential Commission was the visibility
of this mission. This mission had been known as the Teacher in Space mission,
and Christa McAuliffe, a Concord, New Hampshire, schoolteacher, had been selected from a list of over 10,000 applicants. The nation knew the names of all of
the crewmembers on board Challenger. The mission had been highly publicized
for months, stating that Christa McAuliffe would be teaching students from
aboard the Challenger on day four of the mission.
The Presidential Commission consisted of the following members:

Copyright © 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

William P. Rogers, chairman: Former secretary of state under
President Nixon and attorney general under President Eisenhower.
Neil A. Armstrong, vice chairman: Former astronaut and spacecraft
commander for Apollo 11.
David C. Acheson: Former senior vice president and general counsel,
Communications Satellite Corporation (1967–1974), and a partner in the
law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath.
Dr. Eugene E. Covert: Professor and head, Department of Aeronautics
and Astronautics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dr. Richard P. Feynman: Physicist and professor of theoretical
physics at California Institute of Technology; Nobel Prize winner in
Physics, 1965.
Robert B. Hotz: Editor-in-chief of Aviation Week & Space Technology
magazine (1953–1980).
Major General Donald J. Kutyna, USAF: Director of Space Systems
and Command, Control, Communications.
Dr. Sally K. Ride: Astronaut and mission specialist on STS-7,
launched on June 18, 1983, making her the first American woman in
space. She also flew on mission 41-G, launched October 5, 1984. She
holds a Doctorate in Physics from Stanford University (1978) and was
still an active astronaut.
Robert W. Rummel: Vice president of Trans World Airlines and
president of Robert W. Rummel Associates, Inc., of Mesa, Arizona.
Joseph F. Sutter: Executive vice president of the Boeing Commercial
Airplane Company.
Dr. Arthur B. C. Walker, Jr.: Astronomer and professor of Applied
Physics; formerly associate dean of the Graduate Division at Stanford
Kerzner, H. (2008). Project management. Retrieved from
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Background to the Space Transportation System

University, and consultant to Aerospace Corporation, Rand Corporation,
and the National Science Foundation.
Dr. Albert D. Wheelon: Executive vice president, Hughes Aircraft
Brigadier General Charles Yeager, USAF (retired): Former experimental test pilot. He was the first person to break the sound barrier and
the first to fly at a speed of more than 1,600 miles an hour.
Dr. Alton G. Keel, Jr., Executive Director: Detailed to the Commission
from his position in the Executive Office of the President, Office of
Management and Budget, as associate director for National Security and
International Affairs; formerly assistant secretary of the Air Force for
Research, Development and Logistics, and Senate Staff.
Copyright © 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
The Commission interviewed more than 160 individuals, and more than
thirty-five formal panel investigative sessions were held generating almost 12,000
pages of transcript. Almost 6,300 documents totaling more than 122,000 pages,
along with hundreds of photographs, were examined and made a part of the
Commission’s permanent database and archives. These sessions and all the data
gathered added to the 2,800 pages of hearing transcript generated by the
Commission in both closed and open sessions. Unless otherwise stated, all of the
quotations and memos in this case study come from the direct testimony cited in
the Report by the Presidential Commission (RPC).
During the early 1960s, NASA’s strategic plans for post-Apollo manned space exploration rested upon a three-legged stool. The first leg was a reusable space
transportation system, the space shuttle, which could transport people and equipment to low earth orbits and then return to earth in preparation for the next mission. The second leg was a manned space station that would be resupplied by the
space shuttle and serve as a launch platform for space research and planetary exploration. The third leg would be planetary exploration to Mars. But by the late
1960s, the United States was involved in the Vietnam War, which was becoming
costly. In addition, confidence in the government was eroding because of civil unrest and assassinations. With limited funding due to budgetary cuts, and with the
lunar landing missions coming to an end, prioritization of projects was necessary.
With a Democratic Congress continuously attacking the cost of space exploration, and minimal support from President Nixon, the space program was left
standing on one leg only, the space shuttle.
Kerzner, H. (2008). Project management. Retrieved from
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Copyright © 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
President Nixon made it clear that funding all the programs NASA envisioned
would be impossible, and that funding for even one program on the order of the
Apollo Program was likewise not possible. President Nixon seemed to favor the
space station concept, but this required the development of a reusable space shuttle. Thus NASA’s Space Shuttle Program became the near-term priority.
One of the reasons for the high priority given to the Space Shuttle Program
was a 1972 study completed by Dr. Oskar Morgenstern and Dr. Klaus Heiss of
the Princeton-based Mathematica organization. The study showed that the space
shuttle would be able to orbit payloads for as little as $100 per pound based on
sixty launches per year with payloads of 65,000 pounds. This provided tremendous promise for military applications such as reconnaissance and weather satellites, as well as for scientific research.
Unfortunately, the pricing data were somewhat tainted. Much of the cost data
were provided by companies who hoped to become NASA contractors and who
therefore provided unrealistically low cost estimates in hopes of winning future
bids. The actual cost per pound would prove to be more than twenty times the
original estimate. Furthermore, the main engines never achieved the 109 percent
of thrust that NASA desired, thus limiting the payloads to 47,000 pounds instead
of the predicted 65,000 pounds. In addition, the European Space Agency began
successfully developing the capability to place satellites into orbit and began
competing with NASA for the commercial satellite business.
To retain shuttle funding, NASA was forced to make a series of major concessions. First, facing a highly constrained budget, NASA sacrificed the research and
development necessary to produce a truly reusable shuttle, and instead accepted
a design that was only partially reusable, eliminating one of the features that had
made the shuttle attractive in the first place. Solid rocket boosters (SRBs) were
used instead of safer liquid-fueled boosters because they required a much smaller
research and development effort. Numerous other design changes were made to
reduce the level of research and development required.
Second, to increase its political clout and to guarantee a steady customer
base, NASA enlisted the support of the United States Air Force. The Air Force
could provide the considerable political clout of the Department of Defense and
it used many satellites, which required launching. However, Air Force support did
not come without a price. The shuttle payload bay was required to meet Air Force
size and shape requirements, which placed key constraints on the ultimate design.
Even more important was the Air Force requirement that the shuttle be able to
launch from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. This constraint required a
Kerzner, H. (2008). Project management. Retrieved from
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Copyright © 2008. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. All rights reserved.
NASA Succumbs to Politics and Pressure
larger cross range than the Florida site, which, in turn, decreased the total allowable vehicle weight. The weight reduction required the elimination of the design’s
air breathing engines, resulting in a single-pass unpowered landing. This greatly
limited the safety and landing versatility of the vehicle.2
As the year 1986 began, there was extreme pressure on NASA to “Fly out the
Manifest.” From its inception, the Space Shuttle Program had been plagued by
exaggerated expectations, funding inconsistencies, and political pressure. The ultimate vehicle and mission design were shaped almost as much by politics as by
physics. President Kennedy’s declaration that the United States would land a man
on the moon before the end of the decade (the 1960s) had provided NASA’s
Apollo Program with high visibility, a clear direction, and powerful political
backing. The Space Shuttle Program was not as fortunate; it had neither a clear
direction nor consistent political backing.
Cost containment became a critical issue for NASA. In order to minimize
cost, NASA designed a space shuttle system that utilized both liquid and solid
propellants. Liquid propellant engines are more easily controllable than solid propellant engines. Flow of liquid propellant from the storage tanks to the engine can
be throttled and even shut down in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, an allliquid-fuel design was prohibitive because a liquid fuel system is significantly
more expensive to maintain than a solid fuel system.
Solid fuel systems are less costly to maintain. However, once a solid propellant system is ignited, it cannot be easily throttled or shut down. Solid propellant
rocket motors burn until all of the propellant is consumed. This could have a significant impact on safety, especially during launch, at which time the solid rocket
boosters are ignited and have maximum propellant loads. Also, solid rocket
boosters can be designed for reusability, whereas liquid engines are generally
used only once.
The final design that NASA selected was a compromise of both solid and liquid fuel engines. The space shuttle would be a three-element system composed of
the orbiter vehicle, an expendable external liquid fuel tank carrying liquid fuel for
the orbiter’s engines, and two recoverable solid rocket boosters.3 The orbiter’s engines were liquid fuel because of the necessity for throttle capability. The two
solid rocket boosters would provide the added thrust necessary to launch the
space shuttle into its orbiting altitude.
In 1972, NASA selected Rockwell as the prime contractor for building the orbiter. Many industry leaders believed that other competitors who had actively participated in the Apollo Program had a competitive advantage. Rockwell, however,
Kurt Hoover and Wallace T. Fowler (The University of Texas at Austin and The Texas Space Grant
Consortium), “Studies in Ethics, Safety and Liability for Engineers” (Web site: http://www.tsgc.utexas.
edu/archive/general/ethics/shuttle.html page 2).
The terms solid rocket booster (SRB) and solid rocket motor (SRM) will be used interchangeably.
Kerzner, H. (2008). Project management. Retrieved from
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was awarded the contract. Rockwell’s proposal did not include an escape system.
NASA officials decided against the launch escape system since it would have
added too much weight to the shuttle at launch and was very expensive. There
was also some concern on how effective an escape system would be if an accident occurred during launch while all of the engines were ignited. Thus, the Space
Shuttle Program became the first U.S. manned spacecraft without a launch escape
system for the crew.
In 1973, NASA went out for competitive bidding for the solid rocket boosters. The competitors were Morton-Thiokol, Inc. (MTI) (henceforth called
Thiokol), Aerojet General, Lockheed, and United Technologies. The contract was
eventually awarded to Thiokol because of its low cost, $100 million lower than
the nearest competitor. Some believed that other competitors, who ranked higher
in tec…
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