Peerasit Patanakul and Dragan Z. Milosevic
With $467 million in total budget and 144 months in duration, Planet Orbit is an ambitious program. Its objective is to build a spacecraft with a photometer for identifying terrestrial planets in the universe. Scientists believe that this program will eventually help them understand the extent of life on other planets and across much of the universe. "It represents a breakthrough in science that has the potential to change mankind's views about his position and place in the universe," according to Eric Anderson, Planet Orbit program manager.
Next week the PDR (preliminary design review) will be held. The review committee is expected to be tough, and Anderson knows from experience that the program has to be in excellent shape to be granted approval to move from definition to the design phase. He believes the program is progressing well technically, but he is aware of some interpersonal and human relations issues that may be of concern to the stakeholders. Additionally, Anderson is concerned that the latest schedule has some serious disconnects with senior management's delivery expectations. However, he feels that the PCT can push the team hard enough to make up any schedule shortfalls that they may encounter during the development phase.
Anderson is excited to have the Planet Orbit program finally ready to advance to the next phase of development. It has been three years since the program was initially approved. ...