Columbians Final Mission video case is designed to help you understand how failures occur and how you might prevent them in your own organizational life. You have previously been assigned to play a role as a manager or engineer role and central figure in the team that managed this mission. Your password for your role is on the role group assignment page in Blackboard. You reach this page by clicking on Groups from the course home page, locate your assigned role and click on that group.
If you have difficulties locating your group please contact me. You will note hat there are some features to the video (such as a timeline and a calendar and NO back button) that is different from other videos you may have watched. All of the material that you have will be located on your simulated Desktop after you view your role. During the class section we will talk about the meeting on day 8 and attempt to reenact that meeting.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
So, as individuals you should prepare yourself to take your assigned role in that day 8 meeting – conduct yourself as you believe that actual person conducted themselves during that meeting At the end of the assignment you group needs to hand in a written appraisal of the problems. Some of the suggested things that you might evaluate include are: 1. Baseman’s reading on ethical pitfalls listed several traps we fall into that lead us toward making sub-optimal decisions. In your final analysis include instances where one or more of these traps is evident . 2. How would you characterize the culture at NASA?
What are its strengths and weaknesses. 3. How has NASA treated/classified foam strikes in the past. Why have they been treated this way? 4. How did the history of the Space program shape people’s behavior during the first 8 days of the mission? 5. How would you characterize the NASA response to the Columbia incident elated to the Apollo 13 incident. How does it compare to the Challenger incident? 6. What difference in behavior can you see between managers and engineers? 7. Putting yourself in the shoes of the person you have been assigned how would you respond to the following a.
What prior thoughts and beliefs shaped the way you behaved during the mission? B. What pressures affected you behavior and from where did these pressures originate? C. In what ways did the culture impact your behavior? D. If you were in this person’s shoes during the mission do you think you would have behaved differently? Why or why not? The paper to be turned in should probably not be more than 10 pages double spaced. Calvin Schoenberg, senior engineer Manager of Vehicle and Systems Analysis – United Space Alliance Calvin Ginsburg was a NASA technician for 38 years and is considered a senior engineer at the Johnson Space Center.
He is an expert on the Thermal Protection System (TIPS), which consists of tiles that protect the Orbiter from super-hot gases during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. Foam strikes have occurred on previous flights, and have always been treated as maintenance issues upon return of the crew and vehicle. The foam strikes to the TIPS have a very small chance of causing problems. Schoenberg knows that only 200-400 of the over 23,000 tiles, on the left wing, can actually cause an issue. The foam strike on the SST-107 mission was similar to the SST-112, which was classified as a maintenance issue instead of a no safety-of- flight issue.
Shoguns belief was that the impact at 81 seconds was too late to have enough energy to cause extensive damage to the shuttle’s wing. Schoenberg was affected by many things during this mission including the debris assessment team’s briefs that kept coming back inconclusive. The fact that these mom strikes were believed to only be a maintenance issue on previous missions; it would have taken solid evidence to convince the team otherwise. The engineering team was using a crater analysis to try to predict the damage caused by the foam strikes.
However, the crater analysis was not designed to calculate this type of damage. All of this evidence led Schoenberg to only one conclusion and that was that the foam strike would never be treated a safety-of-flight issue but rather a maintenance issue after returning. Even if it was believed to be an in-flight-issue, there was nothing that could have been done about it until they returned. For the past 38 years Schoenberg strictly followed Anna’s cultural beliefs. These beliefs were to be efficient and to follow protocols.
Since the spaceship was a glider and there was no potential help for the ship, there was no one to worry about making repairs to it. Since foam strikes occur on nearly every mission, it was hard for Schoenberg to see past the typical protocol of foam strikes being a routine maintenance issue. It would have taken actual data to make anyone consider otherwise and that wasn’t available so it was straight forward to be non-safety-of- flight issue and overlooked. If I were in Schoenberg shoes I believe I would have acted in the same way he did.
There is no data to prove the foam strike was anything but a maintenance issue and therefore it would have been hard to draw any other conclusion. Since he is an expert on the TIPS and had worked on many previous missions with foam strikes resulting as merely maintenance issues of minor tile damage, it is hard to predict anything other than simply that. Without strong data and evidence to direct you in a different path it is simple and straight forward to draw the same conclusions as you always have or have seen other teams conclude.