THE NEW RIGHT STUFF is Loretta Whitesides’ guide to becoming the best Space explorer you can be!
Many of you feel called to greatness, called to make a profound difference in the world, called to be of service to humanity. The New Right Stuff is a book designed to help you fulfill that.
You will clarify your vision, improve how you communicate, react more effectively to setbacks and consistently produce results (and we will have some fun too).
We are glad you are here. Welcome home.
The New Right Stuff has to do with People Physics. It is the subsystem of the spaceship that involves the people who build it and fly in it. The equations are brutally complex (so much so that none have yet been devised).
Unfortunately, it is also this subsystem that has been at fault in nearly every fatal accident.
One of the hardest parts of the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was that it was a failure of my subsystem—the humans. It meant that we hadn’t learned the lessons deeply enough from the Challenger accident 17 years before.
We must never forget the (human) factors that led to those brutal accidents: hubris (excessive pride or confidence), unwillingness to speak up, unwillingness to listen, unwillingness to ask for help (or accept help or even admit we need help) and perhaps even basic personality conflicts (I don’t know that for sure, but it seems likely). Any of those can kill people, crash multi-million dollar spacecraft, and sideline our dreams.
These human frailties are (regrettably) completely normal in modern office environments and so no one really questions them. Office Space, Dilbert and The Office parody them, but the dysfunction of humans in work environments is largely left unchecked.
The problem is that in human spaceflight we have to hold ourselves to a much higher standard. What passes for normal in a modern office needs to become completely unacceptable in the space community.
NASA tried to put in more and more layers of safety, requirements and process to compensate for the lack of trust, communication, excellence, humility, and teamwork in a typical office environment. But no matter how many processes you impose, if the individuals and the team are not operating from integrity, love, trust and communication, giving it all for the higher good, and being willing to be uncomfortable— not just with long hours, but with sharing their concerns or mistakes, or working through their differences with a coworker, our teams will still not be working at their highest capacity and our space missions will not be given the best chance of success.
This is where your New Right Stuff Training comes in. This book is designed to help train YOU to be a force for good in your team, your company, your industry and your species. When enough of us really take this on, there will be a noticeable shift in the future of humanity.
Space is not like any other business in the world. We are not even like airplane manufacturers. There is a whole new level of human performance required from you to design, test, build, fly, and operate a fleet of spaceships safely. Not even NASA was able to do that without three fatal accidents. It is not easy, but it is worth doing.
This is also not to say that we will never have another fatal accident, but if we do, I want every single one of us to be able to go home that night and know that we did absolutely everything we could to make the vehicle safe and that we went beyond our comfort zone, worked out our differences with everyone on the program, voiced every concern (and saw it through to resolution), and created an atmosphere of love, trust and respect with everyone, helping all of our colleagues to be their best as well.
I want each of you to get from your time working in the space industry not just years of spaceship building experience but also the full training of a Space Hero with the New Right Stuff.
So let’s get started.