bok_rev_khan - Zahra Khan Book Information 16.895 Book...

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Zahra Khan 16.895 Book Review Assignment Book Information Title: The Secret of Apollo - Systems Management in American and European Space Programs Author: Stephen B. Johnson Year of Publication: 2002 ISBN: 0-80188-542-6 Summary, Relevance and Discussion Although the title of this book places it on the reading list of those wishing to learn about Project Apollo, the subtitle reflects its actual content. The organization of the book is essentially that of an argumentative essay; the thesis being that the success of an engineering development program is heavily dependent on its management. Launius has placed this book in the category of Apollo Technology but that categorization seems ill-fitting as the book’s emphasis is not on the technology itself but rather the management of technology. As mentioned several times in class, the term “Apollo Project" has become a colloquialism to refer to the concerted efforts of a large number of people and resources to achieve extraordinary results. "The Secret of Apollo" attempts to uncover the organizational mechanisms that lead to this image of Apollo which currently pervades the national consciousness. It must be noted that this is not the first time that such an attempt has been made. Congressional investigations held in the 60s also attempted to uncover the organizational secrets of Apollo for application to other arenas. Johnson has taken a fresh look at the topic through the 20/20 vision of the history of the events that followed as well as the events that preceded Apollo. The book begins by tracing the early history of how managers in the United States learned to manage large scientific and technical programs. The author chooses to focus on projects and organizations in the space industry as representative of very large technical systems and adopts a crosscutting approach to examine the role of management in the success of these projects. To set the stage for the rest of the book, he identifies various groups involved in engineering development programs and attempts to unearth their needs and motives. He also discusses common "systems" 1
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Zahra Khan 16.895 Book Review Assignment engineering issues encountered in space projects such as vibration, electromagnetic interference and problems caused by mismatched interfaces.
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