The Ultimate in “Not Invented Here”

Filed under Rants

I was reading an article about the Chinese space program and it kinda reminded me of a few projects I’ve worked on.

Don’t get me wrong, working on a space program could possibly be the geek’s ultimate dream, and I’m all for space exploration. Mission to Mars, manned stations, space tourism, you name it.

But think about it this way:

They’re working on sending an exploratory mission up sometime in 2012, and then a manned mission around 2024. This is pretty cool in and of itself.

But then, somebody else has already done it.

Those on that project would seem to be in a pretty thankless position.

  • If they succeed, after years of work, they’ll get a “Congratulations, you’ve done something that was done almost 50 years ago, again.”
  • And if they fail, they’ll get “Somebody else did this 50 years ago, you’ve got 50 years worth of modern tech behind you and you still couldn’t pull it off.”

Makes me wonder how many IT projects wind up in that same boat.

It also seems that the safest way out for everyone involved is for the project to simply get canceled. Maybe that’s why so many are.

And therein would be the benefits of being first, even with the inevitable casualties of diving headlong into uncharted waters, literally or metaphorically.

One Comment

  1. Ralf says:

    Disclaimer: I am a NASA kid, raised in Clear Lake City (Houston) Texas, 50 feet from the back gates of the Manned Spacecraft Center. My dad worked on Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and helped design the self-diagnostic systems for the shuttle’s avionics. It’s in my blood, man.

    However, it is for the reasons you cite I find myself feeling more and more ambiguous about NASA’s 1960’s moon missions.

    Thay had the moon in 1969 and let it go. It’s evident now there was no real plan to build anything ON the moon, no moon base, no lunar factories and launch facilities for colonizing the solar system. It was basically a publicity stunt; a middle finger jabbed into the Soviet’s eye.

    Oh, how things could’ve been different…

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