The Big Think

October 12, 2015

Confessions of a Private Space Rocket Engineer

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 12:41 pm

Confessions of a Private Space Rocket Engineer:

“I have the resources to move quickly from spitballing an idea with other engineers to drawing up a design, fabricating, and testing without friction from management or bureaucracy. This creative freedom is possible because every engineer is aware of the responsibility they have to their coworkers, that at the end of the day their work will be right. A lazy moment could result in the delay of a program, the loss of a vehicle during testing, or an injury, the consequences of which may be devastating. The engineering managers come from this culture of rapid innovation so they are able give significant control to the engineers allowing the organic development process to flow, adding in structure where it is needed. 

Nyberg: In a small scrappy company like Masten, the engineers are given both the pleasure—and frustration—of fabricating their designs with their own hands, which is very uncommon. We’re a company of tinkerers, and a core philosophy is that an engineer who physically builds, repairs, and maintains their own designs becomes tattooed in a way—either by the satisfaction of a well-built design, or just as frequently, by the frustration and revelation of how you’ll improve it ‘next time.’ When a teammate cursing an inaccessible bolt is the same teammate who designed the part in the first place, something very interesting happens: their designs mature at an absurdly fast rate”

In my much more modest projects I’ve definitely noticed that. It quickly gives you the ability to look ahead.

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