System Disposal

It is clear that once a system has come to the end of its usefulness, as agreed upon by the users and sponsors, it is necessary to dispose of it. For systems that are 100% software, this is a relatively simple matter. Of course, the software must reside upon host machines, so there is a question as to whether or not the hardware remains or is to be retired. Whenever there is hardware that is no longer useful as part of the system, specific plans and procedures must be developed for disposal, followed by careful implementation.

Beyond the more-or-less standard methods of reusing, reselling, salvaging, or junking various hardware that is no longer needed, is the fact that many systems that need to be disposed of fall in the broad category of hazardous waste materials. In such cases, they must be disposed of in accordance with applicable standards so as not to present a human or environmental risk, either current or future. In the same vein, disposal should be consistent with the principles and practices of sustainable development, a topic that is discussed in somewhat greater detail in Chapter 12.

Matters of system disposal can be quite varied as well as unique. For example, in March of 2001, the Russians had to decide what to do about disposing of the 143-ton Mir, their fifteen-year-old (launched in February 1986) spacecraft, which had apparently become too decrepit and expensive to operate. With the spacecraft traveling at about 132 miles above the earth, Mir's engines had to be fired by mission controllers on the ground in order to slow the vehicle and change its orbit from circular to elliptical. The plan called for most of Mir to burn up as it entered the earth's atmosphere. However, up to 27.5 tons of ''debris'' was expected to hit the earth south of Tahiti, east of New Zealand, and southeast of Chile's Easter Island. According to reports, the plunge through the atmosphere was fiery and spectacular, and also successful. Despite the great care taken by the Russians, the government of Chile was not happy about this space ''dumping'' so close to their country. Although it did not cause an international incident, one can see that disposing of 143 tons of what had become space junk turned out to be a nontrivial adventure.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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