The Excellence Guide: How to Create a Better NASA


  • NASA and Excellence

  • What Others Are Saying

  • How to Make NASA Stronger

  • All Articles About Excellence

For one day, I long for a NASA that runs like Apple or Disney—where procurements take months instead of years, where contractors do what they said they would do in the time and money promised, and where youth are inspired not by what NASA did in the past or promises to do in the future but by what NASA is doing in the present.

I long for a NASA that performs with excellence instead of resting on excuses like, “What we do is hard.”

It saddens me to say this. But that NASA doesn’t exist—not anymore.

The same NASA that started from scratch and landed men on the moon in less than ten years just went nearly a decade without launching humans into space from American soil.

What Others Are Saying About NASA

And I’m not the only one who’s noticed. Numerous oversight groups, including the Government Accountability Office (GAO), have published scathing reports about NASA’s inability to get things done.

But the crazy thing is that the news inside these reports blows over months after they’re published—and nothing meaningful changes.

I have a question.

When’s the last time a NASA manager was fired because her program was billions over budget and years behind schedule?

And Congress isn’t happy with NASA either. Just look back at testimonies of NASA Administrators answering tough questions about NASA’s failures to do what we said we would do.

With so many words here about NASA’s struggles, it seems lazy not to present a series of solutions that would make NASA stronger.

In the articles below, I’ll do just that.

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About the Author

David Mixson writes about Old Space and New Space. He worked as an engineer at NASA for more than thirty years and is the author of three books.