Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trouble-shooting the countdown

It's amazing to watch this process.

Whenever something alerts the system, it automatically halts the countdown.
Within minutes, the control room crew huddle around data and discuss their options. It seems to be a discussion of whether to agree with the computer that something is off, or to decide that the computer faced an anomoly (not something that normally occurs).

The amount of data they see and how quickly they see it is absolutely remarkable. The team in Texas (where the engine is tested) and LA (where it was built) see the same data. While the key decision people are on Kwaj, technology enables the entire team to be part of the troubleshooting process if needed.

Something that would take months or even years back in the 70's, can now be done several times in one morning. In just the past two hours, we've had two countdowns and we're now in another after just a 45 minute troubleshooting period.

Pretty incredible.

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