The results of the FBC missions were fantastic. For less than the price of the Cassini mission, NASA launched 16 mission, including the Pathfinder mission to Mars and the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR), which no kidding, landed on an asteroid, after collecting 10 times more data than they'd expected. Of those 16 mission, only 10 succeeded, but that's still 10 successful missions for less than the price of a single planetary mission using the "traditional" Slower, Suckier, More Expensive approach (excuse me - I mean, the deliberate, modernist, Scientific Management approach, which never ever fails ever).
The crazy thing is, many people treat FBC as if it was not only a failure, but an embarrassing failure. As if NASA should have known better than to try something so absurd as reducing costs and delays in their pursuit of knowledge and adventure in space. As if 10 successes for the price of 1 is an inadequate track record. As if the data clearly shows we must "pick two," instead of pursuing simultaneous improvements in all three dimensions. I don't get it.
OK, I'm not really stumped. I have my theories about why the approach was rejected. But it's becoming increasingly clear that the rejection and ridicule of the FBC approach has nothing to do with the initiative's actual results, which were admirable and impressive.
How about you? What do you think when you hear the phrase "faster, better, cheaper"?