The Eagle That Never Landed

Is there a more intriguing document for governance and risk aficionados (don’t kid yourself – you are one that is why you are reading this post) than the grand project plan that we never implemented.

Reading such documents are a wonderful snap shot of what could have been instead of assessing what actually happened.

We recently came across Project Horizon.

What was Project Horizon?

Well let’s just say before we explain – had Project Horizon gone ahead it would have fundamentally altered our world view (and sadly probably led to territorial low orbit intergalactic battles).

Project Horizon was a study to determine the feasibility of constructing a scientific / military base on the Moon. 

In 1959, the United States Army produced a report entitled Project Horizon, A U.S. Army Study for the Establishment of a Lunar Military Outpost. The project proposal states the requirements as:

The lunar outpost is required to develop and protect potential United States interests on the moon; to develop techniques in moon-based surveillance of the earth and space, in communications relay, and in operations on the surface of the moon; to serve as a base for exploration of the moon, for further exploration into space and for military operations on the moon if required; and to support scientific investigations on the moon.

Our trusty friends at Wikipedia tell us that the permanent outpost was predicted to cost $6 billion and become operational in December 1966 with twelve soldiers.

Horizon never progressed past the feasibility stage in an official capacity.

Our challenge to you is not to Google and read the full proposal – even though we know you want to – but to instead consider what projects within your organisation never got off the ground.

What does their failure to launch (whether that be by design or by misplaced confidence in competency) tell you about your organisation.

Sometimes what doesn’t happen is as important as what does.

 

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