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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began its space flight program in October of 1958 by launching the 84-pound Pioneer I space probe. Scarcely a decade later, in July of 1969, NASA amazed the world by landing the first humans on the Moon. In the two decades that followed, however, the agency appeared to lose both its vigor and its creativity. Inside NASA explores how an agency praised for its planetary probes and expeditions to the Moon became noted for the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and a series of other malfunctions. Using archival evidence as well as in-depth interviews with space agency officials, Howard McCurdy investigates the relationship between the performance of the U.S. space program and NASA's organizational culture. He begins by identifying the beliefs, norms, and practices that guided NASA's early successes. Originally, the agency was dominated by the strong technical culture rooted in the research-and-development organizations from which NASA was formed. To launch the expeditions to the Moon, McCurdy explains, this technical culture was linked to an organizational structure borrowed from the Air Force Ballistic Missile Program. Over time, however, changes imposed to accomplish the lunar expedition - as well as the normal aging process and increased bureaucracy in the government as a whole-altered NASA's original culture and eroded its technical strength. McCurdy observes that NASA's early success depended on a number of related characteristics: extensive testing, in-house technical capability, hands-on experience, exceptional people, stoic acceptance of risk and failure, and a frontier mentality. He concludes that, given the conditions ofmodern government, the performance of high-technology agencies like NASA inherently tends to decline. Inside NASA offers a revealing study of both organizational culture and bureaucratic aging.