Let’s say You work for NASA, and you are in charge of the rockets. Specifically, keeping all the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are under development in one place, and all of the rockets and teeny-tiny rocket pieces that are fire-tested and ready to fly astronauts into space, in another place. Your single-most important task is to schedule both unique sets of parts to pass through the same shops and machines so that you achieve both your engineering development needs, and your customer-focused launch schedule...all while making sure the two piles remain accounted for and separate. Your ultimate failure is someone, in a mad fervor to meet a deadline, accidentally grabbing one of your test rocket bits, and slapping it onto a launch vehicle that is carrying real people, or a company's critical satellite, into space. In this ultra-high stakes environment, what would you do to ensure mistakes weren’t made? Now it’s time to meet a man whose job, and concern, is exactly this.
Jack Tucker began his space career as a Structures Engineer on Delta IV rockets before transitioning to a Systems Lead with the Atlas V, and finally, Chief of the Space Launch Systems Team with the USAF before transitioning from the military to assume the role of Manager of Master Scheduling with commercial space exploration company, SpaceX. He is also the founder of NewSpace Ventures, an amazingly popular online spreadsheet that allows Space Enthusiasts, Technologists & Entrepreneurs to share, discover, and discuss leading edge space technologies, products and companies with the aim of spurring excitement, generating ideas, and furthering commercial space entrepreneurship.
In the incredibly competitive, potentially dangerous, and hyper-dynamic environment of commercial space exploration, Jack is the ‘keeper of the clock’. Decisions he makes can mean the difference between the kind of success that creates legacy and goes in history books, and the kind of failure that destroys lives and dreams.
In such an environment, does improvisational thinking have room to exist? Let’s find out…