The trials and tribulations of exploration at the high frontier are many. In compiling their book, Harland and Lorenz encountered a feeling “of growing surprise that anything works at all!”
For example, following a string of failuresâ€”a Titan 4A booster, the loss of the Mars Observer, a weather satellite, as well as a Landsat remote sensing spacecraftâ€”a panel of experts in late 1993 that studied these catastrophic accidents blamed “too much employee turnover, an unclear organizational structure, and a breakdown in accountability.”
In one other instance, a thermal wrap and tape were misapplied, preventing a clean separation of rocket stages. The result: Loss of an expensive Defense Support Program satellite.
The authors also note one incident involving a Titan 4 that had sat on the launch pad for over 1,000 days, with a frustrated Air Force commander threatening to mount a plaque on the booster that tallied the $3.5 million-per-day of delay bill for the U.S. taxpayer.
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3949/i-did-not-want-that-part-of-my-income-anyways-nasa-edition/