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Posts Tagged ‘NASA’

Failing to Succeed: Fisker’s Demise Offers America a “Teachable Moment”

April 29th, 2013

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By: Woei Ling Leow* and Ryan Fitzpatrick

The tragic losses of Apollo 1 did not petrify the U.S. and derail the Moon Shot program. The collapse of Henry Ford’s first car company did not mean that the world would never want his product. And the demise of Fisker does not condemn the electric vehicle (EV) to certain failure.

If anything, Apollo 1 strengthened the resolve of those involved to do better. It also provided NASA with information and experience that would one day be critical to successfully landing Apollo 11 on the moon and ensuring the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew despite overwhelming odds. Apollo 1 was a great teacher, and perhaps its biggest lesson is that a nation cannot be held back by individual losses if it intends to achieve greatness.

Yes, Fisker is in the tank. But like Apollo 1, lessons will be learned from this failure. For one, future entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will take note of business strategies that are helping Fisker’s competitors succeed. For instance, Fisker focused on body styling and depended on other companies for technology. Tesla, on the other hand, developed its own technology that eventually brought in revenue streams through partnerships with Toyota and Daimler.

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Getting High… With a Little Help From Our Friends

December 5th, 2012

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In the late 1960s, the Soviet Union designed and built innovative rocket engines for its massive “N-1″ Moon rocket. These “NK-33″ engines were based on a radical new design and on advanced metallurgy that is cutting-edge, even today. But the NK-33s never flew.

After America won the Space Race, Soviet leaders ordered the NK-33s and all other traces of their Moon program to be destroyed. Instead, Soviet rocket scientists ignored their Moscow masters and squirreled away over 100 of their prized NK-33s. After the Soviet Union fell, an American company confirmed rumors about this invaluable rocket cache and eventually bought three dozen, along with U.S. manufacturing rights. Now — some four decades after they were built — two NK-33s are poised to leap from the pages of history and power a new rocket into space.

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