Writing the Right Stuff: NASA’s Elite Coders
Near the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas, a group of programmers enter line after line of near-perfect code for NASA. Known as the “on-board shuttle group,” these coders make the software that handles over $4 billion in equipment – where a miscalculation that’s 2/3 of a second off can put the space shuttle 3 miles off course.
Charles Fishman’s article, They Write the Right Stuff, is a fascinating read about space and high-stakes coding. Even if you’re not someone into computers or code, I think you’d still find this incredibly interesting.
In addition to what the team produces, the process itself seems remarkable. Despite the differences between NASA’s code and commercial software, there’s a lot to be learned from NASA’s approach. Fixing a bug also means fixing the process that allowed the bug to begin with. Fishman provides a glimpse into a unique culture, where there is no such thing as “just a software problem.”
[Photo Credit: NASA]