Lessons Learned: The Design, Fabrication and Deployment of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station 2004-01-2271
From August 1998 to July 2000 the author was responsible for design, fabrication and deployment of the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS). This project was to be the first planetary analog facility, enabling high fidelity operational simulation and equipment testing in a setting visually and geologically similar to Mars. Funding for the project would be obtained privately through the Mars Society and NASA would be the principle user. However, procedural difficulties during design and fabrication, destruction of construction materials resulting from a paradrop failure and contractual disputes resulted in deployment of a non-optimal facility, not acceptable to NASA and having a potentially limited operational life.
This paper is an attempt to review the design / fabrication / deployment process of the FMARS, identify events leading to problems and failures and make recommendations to assist in similar future projects.
The analysis method used begins with development of a “design narrative and chronology” that enables identification of key decisions. The decisions are then compared to one another to establish hierarchy, frequency, type and dates of occurrence. The decisions may then be addressed with regard to their relative importance to the outcome of the project.