Columbia's Final Mission Video Case

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Columbia’s Final Mission video case is designed to help you understand how failures occur and how you might prevent them in your own organizational life.

You have previously been assigned to play a role as a manager or engineer role and central figure in the team that managed this mission. Your password for your role is on the role group assignment page in Blackboard. You reach this page by clicking on Groups from the course home page, locate your assigned role and click on that group. If you have difficulties locating your group please contact me. You will note that there are some features to the video (such as a timeline and a calendar and NO back button) that is different from other videos you may have watched. All of the
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The fact that these foam strikes were believed to only be a maintenance issue on previous missions; it would have taken solid evidence to convince the team otherwise. The engineering team was using a crater analysis to try to predict the damage caused by the foam strikes. However, the crater analysis was not designed to calculate this type of damage. All of this evidence led Schomburg to only one conclusion and that was that the foam strike would never be treated a safety-of-flight issue but rather a maintenance issue after returning. Even if it was believed to be an in-flight-issue, there was nothing that could have been done about it until they returned. For the past 38 years Schomburg strictly followed NASA’s cultural beliefs. These beliefs were to be efficient and to follow protocols. Since the spaceship was a glider and there was no potential help for the ship, there was no one to worry about making repairs to it. Since foam strikes occur on nearly every mission, it was hard for Schomburg to see past the typical protocol of foam strikes being a routine maintenance issue. It would have taken actual data to make anyone consider otherwise and that wasn’t available so it was straight forward to be non-safety-of-flight issue and overlooked. If I were in Schomberg’s shoes I believe I would have acted in the same way he did. There is no data to prove the foam strike was anything but a maintenance issue and therefore it