Management: Management Tips From the Real Rocket Scientists

HOW THE JET PROPULSION LAB INSPIRES TALENT AND MAKES ITS MAGIC IN OUTER SPACE

It's got so you can't tell the celebrations apart at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (J.P.L.) in Pasadena, Calif. They back-slapped and high-fived when the Pathfinder lander bounced down on Mars in 1997 and when the Spirit and Opportunity rovers followed in 2004. They cheered when the Cassini probe went into orbit around Saturn last summer and when the Huygens lander reached the surface of the planet's moon Titan months later. If it's possible to grow tired of popping corks and raising glasses, the J.P.L. engineers may be getting close.

Such high spirits--and the successes behind them--don't always make headlines. The world...

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