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Genesis mishap report released
Posted: Wed, Jun 14, 2006, 8:14 AM ET (1214 GMT)
Genesis capsule crash site (NASA) Sensors that were installed upside down, coupled with faulty design and review processes that failed to catch the error, were the cause of the accident that caused NASA's Genesis spacecraft to crash in the Utah desert nearly two years ago, a NASA report released Tuesday concluded. The return capsule of Genesis, carrying solar wind samples collected by the spacecraft, was supposed to descend under parachutes over the Utah desert and be collected in midair on September 8, 2004. However, the capsule slammed into the desert floor when its parachutes failed to deploy. An investigation into the accident concluded the "G-switch sensors" in the capsule were installed in an inverted orientation because of a faulty design, and several reviews of the spacecraft failed to catch the error. The report blamed inadequate engineering management and systems engineering processes, exacerbated by NASA's "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy that reduced oversight by NASA personnel. Despite the crash of the capsule, many of the sample wafers carried by the capsule were successfully salvaged for studies by scientists.
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