My father worked for a compan ycalled Jan Hardware in the 1960s. His company made the large knobs all over the LEM instrument panels. They had a slip-clutch mechanism so the know would keep turning when it reached the end of its travel. It solved the problem of when astronauts would strip the knob's inside whiel wearing heavy gloves.
Along with congrats for his mind and bravery and condolences for John Houbolt's passing, we can take away some engineering thoughts, too.
A big problem is a lot of little problems.
Each solution has its own needs and its dunnage - e.g. photos need to be as clear as possible, but they don't need colloidal plates and wet baths, or developing fluids, or sheet film or wires or even lenses.
Don't own more of a solution than you need to.
Use the engine, burn the crates, eat the freight horses.
The lander module only had to support itself and the recovery module for One Landing! Look at how much simpler both up- and down stream tasks become.
There are worse things than getting fired, if that's the big fear here, Martin. John Houbolt was a public servant doing his job. Maybe not doing your job is worst than getting fired. It depends on your personal integrity and what you are willing to live with.
I'd say it depends on the boss. Those that have confidence in themselves will help you push ideas they think will work up the chain, even carry it for you. The insecure ones will eather shoort your ideas down because they see you as a threat of will claim the idea as thier own. It's called politics.
You can try going over your bosses head or even pushing your idea in a public forum having your idea critisized by your boss as not preferred. That is a short road to the end of your job these days. It does not matter if you are right.
Of course, it helps if there is a ladder or org chart in the first place--too many companies are in such constant internal turmoil/churn that you can't figure out who the level above actually is, iwth job titles/functions that obscure rather than define--it's especially the case for the one(s) above the one right above you.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used on the Mars on EE Times Radio. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.