Case Study – “Hubble Trouble”:
Some years ago work began on the development of the Hubble Space Telescope….which was placed into low earth orbit in 1990.
The capability provided by the Hubble Space Telescope is a historic precedent for mankind…..vis a vis the advanced imaging of the cosmos…..from a vantage point in space….free from image distortion caused by the earth’s atmosphere.
Considerable care and planning was associated with the development of this complex space based instrument.
Unfortunately, the Hubble Space Telescope experienced several delays and cost over-runs.
The deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope was further delayed due to the UN-related loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Once the Hubble Space Telescope was ultimately deployed it was discovered that the telescope suffered from a significant optics error in the development of it’s primary reflecting mirror.
Fortunately, a team was able to develop a solution to address this error….at considerable additional expense….and opportunity loss (vis a vis…the re-allocation of space shuttle missions to implement the solution….).
What went wrong in the development of the Hubble Space Telescope ?
What was the impact / consequences associated with this error ?
What actions did the Hubble Space Telescope development team employ to preclude the problem from happening ?
Why weren’t the actions that the team employed sufficient to prevent this embarrassing problem from occurring ?
What Systems Engineering processes / actions should the James Webb Space Telescope development team consider employing to preclude such a problem from occurring in this successor space telescope ?