Test and Verification
Section 4.3.11.
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Unforeseeable Contingencies

Some problems with spacecraft can't be planned for no matter how much the systems are tested. Skylab had a big problem with getting mangled by its booster. That cost it half its power; more than half until the first crew fixed the remaining solar array. We would expect a lot of glitches in a program designed to find out what it's like to do a long-duration space flight. The important point is that none of the problems they encountered were life-threatening, and none shortened a manned mission.

The dramatic problems we've had in manned space flight were all things that happened after a flight started, things that were not discovered during previous flights or tests, and were not anticipated. At least, everything I can think of fits into that category.

There might be hidden threats to mission success which do not jeopardize the crew. For example, on STS-37 we did not train the crew in photography or lighting, and did not have a photo plan for the EVA we did on that flight. As a result, during most of the EVA, instead of getting lots of good data we saw what happens when the RMS elbow camera points directly into the sun. The EVA communication loop had problems sending the astronaut's voices to the ground, too, which threatened to wipe out all data--no video, no audio. Fortunately the on-board videotapes had good sound recordings. The bad news is that we had not stressed to the crew the importance of changing the tapes as they ran out.

These are problems we should not have on the Artemis flights, except for the possibility of unpredictable equipment failure. We know we're after top-quality audio and video, so we'll plan for it.

Test and Verification

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