NOAA N-Prime is Up at Last!

Not that anybody pays attention to these things, but NOAA’s N-Prime earth observatory had a successful launch today.

There’s a bit of backstory to this bird: Lockheed-Martin manged to drop the satellite during the final phase of its assembly, causing all manner of damage. Basically, they forgot to bolt the booster adapter down before trying to tilt the satellite over.

It seems L-M ate the rebuild costs, which was a nice gesture on their part.

I wrote about the event in my Dr Dobb’s Journal column some years back, in the context of how we do error checking in our projects. Bottom line: no matter how good you think your development process might be, alas, you’ll always miss something. The trick is to miss only small problems, not project-killers.

Now, if only the bird works correctly…