What was NASA’s motivation to introduce the FBC Initiative?
NASA was motivated to introduce the FBC (faster, better, cheaper) initiative because of the pressure from the White House and the massive cost of maintaining human exploration to Mars. NASA administrator, Dan Goldin, had just assumed the office with a clear directive from the White House that the Mars exploration had to continue. However, the proposals that were presented to Dan Goldin would cost this organization hundreds of billions of dollars. NASA did not have such kind of resources, but President George Bush wanted the results. It is out of this pressure that NASA developed the faster, better, cheaper philosophy following a research by Dr. Charles Elachi. This philosophy was meant to make the exploration cheaper and faster using the modern technologies.
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What are the major features of the FBC Initiative?
As defined by the National Space Council in 1990, FBC initiative had three major features. The first feature was that it involved using the emerging technologies to facilitate faster exploration of the Mars. Using smaller spacecrafts, it would be easy to make a quick landing to the Mars. The philosophy also wanted to make the whole experience of exploring the Mars better than it had been before. This would mean reduced incidents and accidents, better exploration techniques, and more accurate instruments. The third feature of this philosophy was that it would be cheap.
What contributed to the success of the FBC Initiative in the early stage?
The main factor that contributed to the success of FBC initiative in its early stage was the strict guidelines set in the Discovery Program. First, the concept was developed out of a fair bidding program bringing together the universities, NASA research teams, private labs, and other industry players. The timeline for this mission was set at 36 months, development cost not exceeding $ 150 million, operation cost not exceeding $ 35 million and the launch vehicle not costing more than $ 55 million. With these clear set guidelines, the stakeholders knew their boundaries. The expectations were very clear, and what the scientists had to do was to find a way of meeting them, leading to the success that was witnessed.
What contributed to the failure of the FBC Initiative in the later stage?
Cutting of the NASA budget affected its ambitious FBC plans, leading to its failure in the late stage. The reduced budget meant limited research which inhibited the rate of new discoveries.
What is the most important success criterion for a typical NASA project?
The most important success criterion for a typical NASA project would be successful development of a concept that would make regular space exploration simpler, faster, cheaper, and more successful. All the recent researches of NASA have been based on this criterion. FBC philosophy developed by Dr. Charles Elachi was the first step in this new strategy of NASA. Since then, all the NASA projects have been revolving around this new concept.
What might have been done to make the FBC initiative a feasible project for NASA?
A number of steps may need to be taken to make FBC initiative a feasible project for NASA. The first step will be to expand the budget for NASA in order to facilitate extensive research on how this project can be put into practice. One of the main reasons for the failure of the project, as stated in the case study, was the limited financial resources. Increasing the budget will solve this problem. The second step will be to involve universities, private labs, and other industry players alongside NASA research teams into these programs. This was one of the main reasons why FBC initiative was successful at its initial stages.