A View From Space. NASA Systems Engineering and Test
DEFENSE ACQUISITION UNIV FT BELVOIR VA
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It has been three years since I witnessed the last Space Shuttle launch, STS-135, lifting off from Earth on July 8, 2011. It was the seventh I had witnessed, but this one had special meaning. Twenty-nine years ago, I was on the inside looking out as a part of the STS-23 STS 61-B crew. I flew Atlantis on her second flight in 1985 and had observed her construction years earlier at Rockwell International s space shuttle-assembly location. As a crew, we visited the facility in Palmdale, Calif., where the components were finally assembled. It was an awesome spectacle. This was where a reusable, reliable and incredibly powerful rocket ship called Atlantis came alive. Technology was ubiquitous. There were so many critical components that had to be harmonized. If it weren t for systems engineering and its embedded process imperatives though, the shuttle would have never taken off the ground. In the last six years, in my capacity as a professor at the Defense Acquisition University, I have found myself reflecting more and more about that day and the importance of Systems Engineering and Test as well as the influence NASA has had on Department of Defense DoD weapon system developments.
- Manned Spacecraft