What You Can Learn from Launch Failure
Do you plan for launch failure?
We plan days like these in case we experience launch failure. I mean, it’s not possible to plan everything. So you have to build what businessmen might call “contingency” or “margins.” You don’t fail to plan. But you do plan the potential failure of some part of your plan and you respond with proactivity instead of depression or angst.
Twenty minutes before leaving this morning we received bad news from a previous visit to a doctor’s office. What was supposed to be a routine visit on our way out of town turned into suspect results that required a follow up. Fortunately the doctor’s office worked with us and we were able to complete the follow up today.
But that still counts as launch failure.
Elon Musk taught us recently that launch failure does not necessarily imply defeat. When calculating the chance of success of the Falcon Heavy spaceship Musk admitted 50/50 odds that the rocket would not succeed in its mission. He later implied that if the rocket were to fail in its mission he hoped that it would fly long enough to learn something from it to make the next attempt more successful.
How does launch failure impact us?
We will only be one day late on our departure. So instead of driving to South Carolina for a “free day” to explore Aiken we will instead spend the entire day tomorrow driving to Toccoa Falls, Georgia. We’re not entirely disappointed by the results of our launch failure.
In fact, once we returned from the follow-up doctor’s visit we actually watched Failure to Launch. It’s a silly (mind-numbing) movie. But I’m a fan of both Matthew McConaughey and Zooey Deschenel so it worked for me. It really has nothing to do with not arriving in South Carolina today.
But on a slightly related note, we did manage to purchase tickets to see NEEDTOBREATHE in South Carolina. We won’t see them in our home venue. So instead we decided to change our route so that we could attend their last show in Charleston. We have not missed attending a show in any year that we have been together. So despite being on the road we are going to do our best to make it to a show this year!
What Did We Learn?
I decided to double check all of the pipes, hoses and other lines in the truck and camper that might be susceptible to failure themselves. In doing so I discovered two separate leaks in our propane system that could have caused major issues. Actually, the propane system can cause lethal problems. So extra time gave us the chance to prevent much more catastrophic future failure.
We’re not happy that we had to delay our departure by a day – especially since we received so much support from friends and family throughout the day. However, having the opportunity to learn from failure and to correct future mistakes is invaluable experience.
So we’ll look forward to the morning and our next attempt to launch!