So I've been messing about NASA's site today, and at some point it occurred to me that there's a whole lot of people looking after one "little
space ship" in the Control room... You see it all the times in the movies and NASA pics...
Kennedy Space Centre
Now, I understand that shooting a billion dollar rocket into space is no easy task, and takes a bit more intelligence than two monkeys behind
typewriters. BUT isn't most of it automated? I can understand that they needed this many people in the 60's...
So I found an explanation
on NASA's site... Pretty convincing...
But think about it. 50 people on a team, three teams working about 9 hour shifts. In addition, there are many engineering people who support the
mission in case there is a peculiar problem. Each team has a flight director and CAPCOM.
50+ people (100+ a day) to keep something in the sky that's automated in a hundred and one ways? Compare that to a flight controller at, say JFK
airport. One flight controller controls a couple of airplanes going in and out.
From what I gather - most of these (NASA) guys are "controllers" - meaning they just check that everything is going ok. Is there really no computer
strong/good enough to do all the controlling? Aren't most errors/accidents/problems - in any business - because of human error? Then why stick so
many humans into this?
Do most of these guys actually do something all the time (monitoring all kinds of levels?) or are they just sitting there waiting for something to go
OK, given that these guys actually spend only 10% of their (career) time controlling an actual mission. 15% of the time they're training and 75%
they're planning another mission.
And BTW - how much "control" do these guys have when something actually goes wrong?
Well, to me it feels a little bit excessive to have all these people sitting around to look at what's happening and that everything is going
according to plan when everything has been planned years ahead, with every scenario in mind...?
This is probably what's making a mission so expensive. Not the spacecraft, but the (excessive?) human resources?
Just a thought.