[Bill Williams 15 January 2003 3:50 PM CST]
I'd forgotten, for the moment, about the Hubble screw-up. Thanks for the detailed description.
However, I wonder about something.
It was my understanding that qualitatively the defect could have been identified using just a candle and a straight-edge, and maybe fifteen minutes required to set-up and make an observation. So, while I'm sure a formal test would have been as you say [ b) Conduct an expensive on-ground optical test, just in case.] expensive-- just the paperwork alone to specify, document etc, etc, cover who ever's ass, etc etc, would run into as Ev Dirkson said real money. However, people who cared about, or even were curious about the work they were doing, could have discovered the defect on their own time over, a lunch hour with mininumal effort.
[From Kenny Kitzke (2004.01.15)]
a) NASA picked Perkins-Elmer's bid that did not include an on-ground test
over a competitor's bid which did. P-E apparently convinced NASA that no such
test was needed. The wiser competitor would not do the work w/o the test and
lost the award.
Apparently lots of place to point the finger. But, when things go wrong there usually is.