Category Technology Challenges
The practical problems of managing a workforce that will operate in comparative isolation and without many of the expected comforts of any modern community will begin after the selection and training process has occurred. Operating on the Moon will be an interesting managerial experience, if for no other reason than nothing can be taken for granted, not even the air. The entire experience will be inherently artificial with many choices constrained by what is needed to ensure survival. Even the manner of experiencing things as simple as dawn and dusk will have to be built into the operation of the lunar community. These sorts of things might be overlooked and are exactly the things with the potential to bedevil even the most experienced manager...Read More
What role should training play both for managers and other personnel if the individuals selected are assumed to have the requisite skills and knowledge for their specific job assignments? Training has two essential elements for personnel heading out for a lunar assignment. The first element is to acquaint every individual with the assorted operational and safety issues for the facility and its environs.
Learning what to do and what not to do during a variety of possible emergencies should constitute a significant part of the pre-departure training activity. Early Russian space missions found that tasks conducted in the weightless environment almost always took longer than training on earth accounted for...Read More
Recruitment and selection will be challenging tasks that are essential for the success of business driven activities on the Moon. The actual recruiting, i. e. attracting qualified candidates to apply for open positions, might not be as problematic since one anticipates enough interest from highly qualified individuals to work “abroad” (even, or especially, if that means working in space). However, the actual selection process will prove more demanding and difficult as it is absolutely crucial that the “right” people are hired.
What profile do the “right” people to work successfully on the Moon have? Of course certain medical requirements need to be met by a successful applicant...Read More
The evolution of management theory generally points to a progression from more restrictive forms, or as some have termed, “industrial feudalism” (for example, feudal societies of Europe, the Hershey experiment, certain robber barons, Carnegie), with a capitalist or other individual having nearly total social control of a community, to less restrictive forms. It has been speculated that lunar organizations would start out more in the management style of early industrial-age organizations, with strong central control, and then evolve towards the more freewheeling organizations that are common on Earth today. This is linked to an initial situation where there would be central control of transport and vital resources such as power, water, and air (Ryan and Luthy 2003, p. 21).
No single...Read More
Planning in general is the critical management component for long duration and/or remote activities. Planning is particularly important when transportation and communication are irregular, prone to disruption or subject to various interruptions. The inability to provide rescue or relief imparts a necessary condition of anticipating not just some possible problems to be overcome.
In some ways, outer space is fundamentally different from other endeavors in the business world. Space is exceedingly hard to get to, and once you put your space segment in place the physical environment is unrelentingly hostile. It is extraordinarily difficult to maintain space assets because you can’t retrieve them or send a repair crew (at least not currently)...Read More
Space-related activity in its present form is primarily driven by government – initiated or government-supported operations. The principal source of space activity in the United States has been the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for half a century. In Europe, the European Space Administration (ESA) has served as the hub for the various national space organizations of its European members. The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has operated in cooperation with NASA, ESA, and other national programs. Russia has operated its own national space administration with some variations in administrative structure since the beginning of the space-age during the 1950s...Read More
The general factors that should be examined from a management perspective might be the same for a lunar facility as compared to one operating on earth but the actual application can vary tremendously. For example, planning, motivation, leadership, decision-making, teamwork, conflict resolution, employee selection, training, communication and culture are all components of the management environment regardless of location. Location imparts some essential differences in how management practice is implemented. What works well in one culture may be problematic in another. Culture alone makes direct insertion of business practices from one place to another more difficult than many managers are willing to admit. This seems to occur regardless of the direction of the cultural shift...Read More
The application of management principles in a lunar context can be very challenging and straightforward at the same time. The ambiguity is a function of the inherent difficulties of the environment and the characteristics of the individuals needed to work there. Management practice is very clear for some situations. Other circumstances, especially those bringing together larger numbers of participants from different cultural and work backgrounds, may present more significant management problems. Regardless, many “interesting” problems faced by managers of people in space-based environments are inherently those brought to that situation by the participants, workers, or employees simply being human...Read More