As the Department of Defense continues to wrestle with the high costs and often slow pace of military technology and acquisition programs, it would do well to take a closer look at that other bastion of high-tech government programs: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. NASA’s low-cost missions from yesteryear just might hold the secret to bringing the price tags of today’s Pentagon programs down to Earth.
In the 1990’s, NASA’s portfolio of Faster, Better, Cheaper (FBC) missions included some truly impressive accomplishments. Notable examples include the Mars Pathfinder mission, which put a rover on another planet for the first time ever. Pathfinder was developed in half the time and one fifteenth the cost of the earlier Viking mission to Mars and went on to explore Mars three times longer than its projected lifespan.
And then there was the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) mission, which came in $78 million under budget and still collected 10 times more data about the asteroid Eros than expected. Despite not being designed as a lander, NEAR went on to land on its target– another first. The touch-down was so smooth and gentle, the spacecraft continued to broadcast from the surface of Eros for two full weeks.
Keep reading this article at: http://breakingdefense.com/2013/05/31/faster-better-cheaper-lessons-defense-could-learn-from-nasa/