Learning from Mistakes: Engineering’s Path to Success

Engineering often learns from mistakes to make incredible discoveries. Embracing errors as opportunities has led to significant innovations that change how things work. Engineering Success Mistakes Engineering Success Mistakes

Case Studies: Seeing Success from Failure

The Wright Brothers’ Journey

The Wright brothers tried many times to fly in the early 1900s and crashed a lot. Each time they failed, they learned something new, leading to their successful flight at Kitty Hawk.

The Wright Brothers' Journey
Wright brothers’ early planes or the moment of their successful flight
NASA’s Apollo 1 Lesson

In 1967, Apollo 1 had a terrible accident, showing NASA how to make spaceships safer. They made over 5,000 changes to be safer for trips to the moon.

Apollo 1 spacecraft or NASA’s safety improvements
Ford’s Model T Challenges

In 1908, Ford had trouble making cars quickly. They learned from this and changed how they made cars, making them much faster by 1913.

Engineering Success Mistakes
early Ford Model T production
Mars Climate Orbiter Mistake

A small mistake in 1999 made the Mars Climate Orbiter fail. This showed us why we need to be extra careful in space missions.

Engineering Success Mistakes
Mars Climate Orbiter or space mission errors
Fixing Hubble’s Vision

The Hubble Space Telescope had a problem with its mirror in 1990. A repair in 1993 not only fixed it but also made it much better at seeing things in space.


Image of the Hubble Space Telescope or its repaired mirror


Learning from mistakes is how engineering grows. It’s like taking steps forward, even if they sometimes feel like steps back.

Tell us about your experiences with engineering mistakes that led to big discoveries. Let’s celebrate the lessons learned from mistakes that make engineering better!

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