Space plane and ejector risks

Risk is never a purely rational process, but is very much a question of perspective. When two options were evaluated for the safety of the astronauts in the case of a serious incident of the space plane, there were heated discussions about which option to choose.  One solution was to eject an entire module, and the other alternative would mean ejecting three separate seats, one for each astronaut. 

The chance of survival for each astronaut in the case of the single module was estimated at 90%, where as the ejector seats gave a chance of survival of 95% for each astronaut individually, but only 86% (0.95 x 0.95 x 0.95) for all three together.  Thus, on the one hand it was better for the individual astronaut, and on the other there would be a smaller probability of tragedy. For if one astronaut should die, then from the mission point of view it's a failure. 

But, what about the astronauts?  The astronauts reply was unanimous. “If we have to pilot a fighter plane for ten years, there's much more risk than for one space plane mission.” “You do what you think is best for the programme.”


Thinking Caps

Thinking cap

Sixteen thinking roles, guidelines and team observation tool.


Preview project games

Many people will be familiar with the six thinking hats of Edward De Bono.  In this set of material there are sixteen thinking hats. The sixteen hats incorporate psychometric caps, such as those that are oriented towards relations, ideas, structure and action.

Other roles are the ethical angel, the devil's advocate, honest broker and the blue-sky thinker.  All of these thinking roles are described and given cap colours.

The set of materials contains guidelines for applying the thinking caps in different ways, and a team obersevation tool to help you to observe and assess whether the thinking caps have been used suitably according to the challenges which you face. : Ian Stokes, Project Leader and Advisor

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