Two Russian workers were killed and several injured last week while cleaning out a rocket tank at a Russian spaceport.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Two Russian workers were killed and several injured last week while cleaning out a rocket tank at a Russian spaceport.

The article says that the accident occurred because of a failure to follow safety regulations, which suggests that the quality control issues in Russia’s space industry still exist.


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  • wodun

    I don’t have much love for the Russians politically but the state of their space industry is sad and it directly effects our partnership with them. I hope they get their act together. It also points to potential problems with their nuclear stockpile.

  • Edward

    If they are willing to violate safety procedures then one has to wonder what other safety/quality-related procedures they also violate.

    Entering areas that potentially lack sufficient oxygen (confined spaces) is a lesson that has been learned too many times, usually due to tragedy, and because this violated existing procedures, it suggests that it has been learned in Russia at least once, also.

    At the risk of sounding bureaucratic (oh, god, I never thought I would grow up to sound like my father!), many procedures and rules were put in place for a valid reason, and they should be followed until they are officially changed (for the better, we hope).

    In engineering, change is bad, unless you understand the system you want to change. Even if it doesn’t work now as you want it to, you need to understand it in order to know what will fix the problem, otherwise you are just messing around and risking unpredictable results, an excellent way to generate unintended consequences — a serious quality problem. (This is even true of social engineering, which is why laws and their associated websites can go so terribly wrong.)

  • There is a saying in the aviation and railroad sectors (and probably many others): Every rule is written in blood.

    I’ve worked for companies that had contracts with Boeing and Intel, and those folks are VERY serious about safety. Intel requires all contractors to take a full day course on safety procedures, followed immediately by a drug test. Strictly one procedural strike and you’re out. Not just for the day, but permanently. You can imagine your job life expectancy if you have to tell your boss you’ve been banned from the job site.

    Those experiences and others have given me a real appreciation for proper procedure. After all, we all want to go home with the same number of body parts, and life, we started the day with. Some of my colleagues may think me an old woman sometimes, but avoidable risk is just that, avoidable.

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