Second landing on the moon - Project management

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The Challenger Moon Landing: A Project Management Disaster

The second moon landing was the most anticipated but risky project, which had to sacrifice the people's money in order to succeed. The entire effort portraying the Challenger landing on the moon was a debacle that was broadcast to the entire globe via television. Taking into account all of the benefits and hazards that the project experienced, the management should be evaluated as ineffective. As a result, understanding project management is critical before beginning any project.

Phases of Project Management

Project management is the application of information, techniques, tools, and skills to a project in order to fulfill its objectives. It involves five major phases which are: initiating the project, planning the whole process, executing what is planned, monitoring and controlling as the project is being undertaken, and finally the closure where the project is released for its purpose (Kerzner, H. (2009).

Lack of Defined Roles and Responsibilities

From the Challenger disaster, we can see that the lines of authority and responsibility which are the interface between the center support offices, contractors, and programs were improperly and poorly defined. This is seen when a key engineer in the project is sure that a catastrophe is coming even before the spaceship launches in the air and warns the rest of the management and engineering team that they need to stop the flight since he thinks the ship was about to explode. This is neglected by the other board members who in turn lead to the biggest disaster of the year. The leadership of the project management from NASA had defiled some of the documentation and requirements. Some of these are those that defined the roles and responsibilities were out of date and inconsistent (McDonald, A. J., & Hansen, J. R. (2009).

Failure in Assurance Integration Requirements

Some of the assurance integration requirements were not followed properly. During the project execution, the contractors were imposed with some of the NASA assurance requirements that were not uniformly applied in the internal organization. This will demotivate the workers and may lead to improper work being done as seen on the outcome where the Challenger exploded in 78 seconds of flight. Another role of the project management that failed was that there was no commitment from the headquarters (Micklos, J. (2015). Project management is a process that needs to be observed and monitored in every step, therefore, the headquarters not taking responsibilities in the resolution of the safety problems or the safety assurance assessment during the launch.

Inadequate Risk Management

The risk management from this project is also to be blamed for not taking into consideration some of the minor details of the project which may lead to a disaster. There were inconsistencies between the contractor risk management systems and NASA center that existed, and the project risk management team could no longer be integrated (Lieurance, S. (2001). Due to this, there was serious corporate knowledge loss which led the NASA SR and QR functions to be scaled back. In the risk management properties, there should be independent safety assessments and defined dual assurance responsibilities. This will minimize the rate at which disasters occur hence reducing the risk throughout the project. Another important lesson is that the safety risk must not be diminished and it should be taken with the weight that it deserves.


Project management is a cycle that involves many individuals and processes. Therefore, observing every single step is essential for the success of any project. All the risks involved in the project can then be reduced by adhering and impacting proper safety rules.


Kerzner, H. (2009). Project management: A systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Lieurance, S. (2001). The space shuttle Challenger disaster in American history. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow.

McDonald, A. J., & Hansen, J. R. (2009). Truth, lies, and O-rings: Inside the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.

Micklos, J. (2015). The Challenger explosion: Core events of a space tragedy.

May 10, 2023

Science Business


Space Astronomy Management

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