Ian,

A tragic example of poor documentation augmented by no budget for
simulation is NASA's loss of the last two Mars explorers.  The most
recent of these monumental embarrassments would never have happened if
someone had bothered to simulate the entire flight (especially the
boundary points, like where flight control programs designed by two
separate teams come together).  Here is a situation where all systems
were functioning properly, no design errors, no hardware failures. My
understanding is that the first portion of the flight mathematics
implemented by team A were calculated using feet and the terminal
portion designed by team B was done in meters.  Unfortunately, the
computer was still thinking in feet.  Well,  as a consolation, they
claim it was one of the least expensive launches in NASA's history...oh,
my.    Had someone prepared a even a very basic simulation, they would
have caught this oversight in the process preparing the simulation.  The
error would have been fixed before the simulation was even running.

Gary Packman

Ian Wilson wrote:

> Of course a well documented design would have recognised that many people
> would detect this as a possible error and so have an annotation on the Sch
> to inform the reader that the reverse C-E connection was deliberate and
> refer to the supporting documentation for further info.  I am sure that
> this was added to the final release Sch, wasn't it :-)
> 
> Ian Wilson
> 
> ************************************************************************

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