The Secret of Apollo: Systems Management in American and European Space Programs

Overview

How does one go about organizing something as complicated as a strategic-missile or space-exploration program? Stephen B. Johnson here explores the answer?systems management?in a groundbreaking study that involves Air Force planners, scientists, technical specialists, and, eventually, bureaucrats. Taking a comparative approach, Johnson focuses on the theory, or intellectual history, of "systems engineering" as such, its origins in the Air Force's Cold War ICBM efforts, and its ...

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Overview

How does one go about organizing something as complicated as a strategic-missile or space-exploration program? Stephen B. Johnson here explores the answer—systems management—in a groundbreaking study that involves Air Force planners, scientists, technical specialists, and, eventually, bureaucrats. Taking a comparative approach, Johnson focuses on the theory, or intellectual history, of "systems engineering" as such, its origins in the Air Force's Cold War ICBM efforts, and its migration to not only NASA but the European Space Agency.

Exploring the history and politics of aerospace development and weapons procurement, Johnson examines how scientists and engineers created the systems management process to coordinate large-scale technology development, and how managers and military officers gained control of that process. "Those funding the race demanded results," Johnson explains. "In response, development organizations created what few expected and what even fewer wanted—a bureaucracy for innovation. To begin to understand this apparent contradiction in terms, we must first understand the exacting nature of space technologies and the concerns of those who create them."

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
A book for general readers interested in business and management issues in the space program.
Journal of Military History
Soundly based on the secondary literature and on archival research in the United States and Europe and provides an excellent overview of the topic within Johnson's chosen boundaries... I can highly recommend Johnson's book to historians of both the Cold War military and civilian space programs.
British Journal for the History of Science
Johnson has been inspired by engineering to write good history.

— Jon Agar

Choice

A book for general readers interested in business and management issues in the space program.

Space Review
Johnson's in-depth, nuts-and-bolts manual sheds much light on a seldom studied secret of our recent space history.
Satellite Evolution Group
Well written and engaging in style.
British Journal for the History of Science - Jon Agar
Johnson has been inspired by engineering to write good history.
Howard McCurdy
This is a wonderful story and a great book. The issue is of maximum importance today, since NASA and other high-tech operations are replacing systems management with 'faster, better, cheaper' approaches to space flight, with decidedly mixed results. Skillfully interweaving technical details and fascinating personalities, Johnson tells the history of systems management in the U.S. and Europe. It is a very important work.
Booknews
The Spacelab project, a collaboration between the US and Europe, seemed a perfect example of technology transfer from the former to the latter, but Johnson (space studies, U. of North Dakota) had trouble understanding why the Europeans were interested in what was actually rather mundane Apollo technology. He discovered that what excited them was learning how to manage such a gigantic project. He examines how scientists and engineers created a process to coordinate large-scale technology development, and how managers and military officers modified and gained control of it. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801885426
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Series: New Series in NASA History
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,445,335
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen B. Johnson is an associate professor of space studies at the University of North Dakota.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents:

Introduction: Managment and the Conrol of Research

Social and Technical Issues of Spaceflight

Creating Concurrency

From Concurrency to Systems Managment

JPL's Journey from Missiles to Space

Organizing the Manned Space Program

Organizing ELDO for Failure

ERSO's American Bridge across the Managment Gap

Coordination and Control of High-Tech Research and Development

Johns Hopkins University Press

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