Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program

Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program

by Howard E. McCurdy
     
 

In Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program, Howard E. McCurdy examines NASA's recent efforts to save money while improving mission frequency and performance. McCurdy details the sixteen missions undertaken during the 1990s—including an orbit of the moon, deployment of three space telescopes, four Earth-orbiting

Overview

In Faster, Better, Cheaper: Low-Cost Innovation in the U.S. Space Program, Howard E. McCurdy examines NASA's recent efforts to save money while improving mission frequency and performance. McCurdy details the sixteen missions undertaken during the 1990s—including an orbit of the moon, deployment of three space telescopes, four Earth-orbiting satellites, two rendezvous with comets and asteroids, and a test of an ion propulsion engine—which cost less than the sum traditionally spent on a single, conventionally planned planetary mission. He shows how these missions employed smaller spacecraft and cheaper technology to undertake less complex and more specific tasks in outer space. While the technological innovation and space exploration approach that McCurdy describes is still controversial, the historical perspective on its disappointments and triumphs points to ways of developing "faster, better, and cheaper" as a management manifesto.

Editorial Reviews

Satellite Evolution Group
It is an engaging story, and the book itself is small enough for bedtime reading.

Choice
This excellent summary of an important part of NASA's history is recommended for all readers.

Enterprise and Society - Michael N. Geselowitz
Readers interested in either the management or economics of complex organizations will find a wealth of material in this well-written exposition. Fans of space travel, like the author himself, will also enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at NASA's operation.

Technology and Culture
An excellent overview of Goldin's initiative and of the scholarly literature that bears on the topic.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801867200
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Series:
New Series in NASA History
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Roger D. Launius
Howard McCurdy is an exceptionally talented scholar who has made many seminal contributions to aerospace history. His new book, Faster, Better, Cheaper, is the first scholarly attempt to explore NASA's transformation from one in which large-scale space science projects were the norm into one in which projects that are smaller, less expensive, and generally less expansive rule the day. McCurdy offers an excellent introduction to NASA's new management approach and points to further understanding and evolution. It will become required reading for NASA managers and engineers, and it will find a significant audience among space scientists and aerospace leaders around the globe.

Meet the Author

Howard E. McCurdy is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University.

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