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Learning from Mistakes

This is an abbreviated version of one of Dan Bobinski's newspaper columns. You can read the full column here

When the space shuttle Columbia went down this past February, I talked about risk and rewards. But with last week’s test proving that breakaway foam was almost assuredly the cause of the Columbia disaster, now is the time to talk about learning from mistakes.

In the NASA test, a piece of foam weighing less than two pounds was fired at a wing assembly at 530 MPH, simulating the foam impact that occurred at the beginning of the shuttle mission in February. The result was a 16-inch hole – enough to bring down the shuttle on re-entry.

According to the Associated Press, among the preliminary recommendations for future shuttle flights are improving launch photography, using spy satellites to check out orbiting spaceships, and devising an inspection and repair plan for astronauts in orbit.

The rewards of space exploration are worth the risks. Mistakes have been happening from the dawn of time, and we only progress when we learn from them. Every company and every employee makes mistakes. Our job is to learn from them and make improvements.
     
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