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Implosion: Lessons from National Security, High Reliability Spacecraft, Electronics, and the Forces Which Changed Them



Implosion: Lessons from National Security, High Reliability Spacecraft, Electronics, and the Forces Which Changed Them

L. Parker Temple III

ISBN: 978-1-118-48709-9 November 2012 Wiley-IEEE Press 368 Pages


Implosion is a focused study of the history and uses of high-reliability, solid-state electronics, military standards, and space systems that support our national security and defense. This book is unique in combining the interdependent evolution of and interrelationships among military standards, solid-state electronics, and very high-reliability space systems.

Starting with a brief description of the physics that enabled the development of the first transistor, Implosion covers the need for standardizing military electronics, which began during World War II and continues today. The book shows how these twin topics affected, and largely enabled, the highest reliability and most technologically capable robotic systems ever conceived.

This riveting history helps readers:

  • Realize the complex interdependence of solid-state electronics and practical implementations in the national security and defense space programs
  • Understand the evolution of military standards for piece parts, quality, and reliability as they affected these programs
  • Gain insight into the attempted reforms of federal systems acquisition of security- and defense-related space systems in the latter half of the twentieth century
  • Appreciate the complexity of science and technology public policy decisions in the context of political, organizational, and economic realities

Written in clear, jargon-free language, but with plenty of technical detail, Implosion is a must-read for aerospace and aviation engineers, manufacturers, and enthusiasts; technology students and historians; and anyone interested in the history of technology, military technology, and the space program.

List of Figures vii

List of Tables ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Program Names xvii

Part I Activation Energy (1931-1968)

1. Washington . . . We Have a Problem . . . 3

2. The Quantum Leap 6

3. Preparation 21

4. The Final Frontiers 29

5. Minuteman Means Reliability 58

6. Skinning Cats 68

Part II Startup Transient (1969-1980)

7. Changing the Sea State 87

8. Space Parts: From A to S 93

9. There's S, and Then There's S 122

10. A Little Revolution Now and Then Is Good 140

11. Quality on the Horizon 144

Part III Switching Transient (1980–1989)

12. Crossing the Operational Divide 153

13. Stocking the Shelves 168

14. Hammered 184

15. Battlegrounds: Reorganization and Reform 187

16. Implementing Change in a Changing World 207

Part IV Shorting To Ground (1989-2002)

17. Leap First, Look Later 231

18. Hardly Standing PAT 248

Part V Resetting the Circuit Breakers

19. Brewing the Perfect Storm 277

20. Summing the Parts 301

Epilogue: Can One Ever Truly Go Home Again? 309

Index 322

"It has elements of all four, but its real value is in the  amalgamation of these divergent elements into a meaningful whole." (Quest: The History of Spaceflight, 1 March 2013)