Projects have many facets to them, each of which can lead to either the success or the failure of the project, and all facets are dependent on how each situation is handled. In the case of the Orion Shield Project, which is an R&D, 10 Month, Fixed Price Incentive Fee (FPIP), 2.2 Million contract most of those facets ended up resulting in failures completed not only by the sub-contractor, Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC), but by the prime contractor, Space Technology Industries (STI), as well. Primarily the Orion Shield Project case follows that of Gary Allison, an inexperienced project manager with SEC who follows the corrupt advice of Henry Larson, an SEC ...view middle of the document...
According to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 35.006 Section C, an FPIF contract was correct to use in the R&D projects due to the risk associated. A company called Scientific Engineering Corporation (SEC) won the contract with a Mr. Gary Allison as the project manager. Gary Allison typically reported to Henry Larson—a SEC executive, Paula Arnold—- SEC Chief Project Engineer, Sarah Wilson— STI representative, and Elliot Gray— SEC Lead Program Manager. Not only Gary Allison, but SEC and STI bungled the Orion Shield Project technically, ethically, legally, contractually, and managerially.
To put it simply, SEC did not reach the contract requirements because of five technical issues. SEC was behind on the technical requirements of the contract before the award was even given, due to the fact the RFP required the material used to withstand at least 145 degrees F, and the materials SEC had could only function at 130 degrees F. In order to meet the first milestone of the project, the raw materials had to meet the technical specifications, and the test matrix failed using the materials SEC currently had, as they had presumed it would, this was the second area of technical failure. JXB-3, a new material, introduced to the Orion Shield Project after being tested by SEC without the knowledge of STI nor of NASA; therefore, SEC, NASA, and STI did not know if JXB-3 would work with the other components of the project since no testing nor knowledge of the material had been known.
The fourth failure came in the form of the first verification mix—production run of material to confirm correct materials are being used, where it was found the incorrect raw material was used in the production of the mix. SEC was awarded another contract solely based on the longer-life raw materials, which included JXB-3, due to the successful results of testing; however, Allison hid from STI that testing proved the SEC raw materials would last less than five years; therein, the materials were not long term capable. According to the National Science Foundation there are three types of R&D contracts Basic Research—“systematic study directed toward fuller knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and of observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind (Globalization of Science and Engineering Research; A companion to Science and Engineering Indicators, 2010),” Applied Research—“systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met (Globalization of Science and Engineering Research; A companion to Science and Engineering Indicators, 2010),” and Development Research—“systematic applications of knowledge or understanding directed toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods, including design, development and improvement of prototypes and new processes to meet specific...