NASA administrator Dan Goldin has accepted responsibility for the failure of the agency's Mars missions. But NASA will not abandon the "faster, better, cheaper" approach.

Talking to workers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, responsible for programme management of last year's Mars missions, Goldin accepted blame. "In my effort to empower people I pushed too hard, and in doing so stretched the system too thin. I believed in the vision but it may have made failure inevitable," he says.

The faster, better, cheaper approach has delivered successes, such as the Mars Pathfinder, Mars Global Surveyor and Deep Space 1, he says. Since 1992, NASA has launched 146 payloads, valued at $18 billion, with less than 3% of this total value lost.

The Young report into the failures concluded that flaws in NASA's approach overloaded the JPL. Goldin says the agency must learn from its mistakes and strive to accomplish its missions "even faster...better and cheaper".

Source: Flight International