Module : CM0602: Effective Systems Development
Name : Tan Yee Mei (Jazz)
Student ID : 10034482
KDU Student ID : C15425
Project Title : The Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO)
Assignment 1 : Causes of information systems failure
In December 23rd, 1999 the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) mission was lost when it entered the Martian atmosphere on a lower than expected trajectory. There was a series of problems which arise before the disaster took place according to the Mars Climate Orbiter Mishap Investigation Board Phase 1 Report in November 10, 1999.
The root cause of the failure was the failure of using the metric units of coding in the on ground software files which is the “Small Forces” used in trajectory models, this is then followed by all the factors of the failure of human errors such as undetected mismodeling of spacecraft velocity changes, unfamiliarity of navigation, trajectory number 5 which did not responded, no proper transition of project, communication breakdown, no proper training provided to the team and also no proper process of transition of the software.
In James Reason, 1990’s view, he stated that the reason of a system failure is always resulted due to human error which combines psychological and situational error. He also stated that the error must be as a result of some prior intention. In this case, the failure of the operation team of Mars Climate Orbiter to detect the changes in the small forces and definitely the miscalculation of using the English “imperial” units(feet, pound)instead of standard units(metres, Newtons). This is a mistake caused by NASA. This error should be identified in the initial process way before the launch of MCO as a corrective action to deal with this problem. The board should recommend the implementation of risk management specified with a standard procedure to identify the risk and assessing the risk before the MCO is launched.
The mistake caused by NASA is occurred when the action of launching the MOC to...