NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) MIDEX mission is surveying the entire sky in four infrared bands
from 3.4 to 22 micrometers. The WISE instrument consists of a 40 cm telescope, a solid hydrogen cryostat, a scan mirror
mechanism, and four 1K x1K infrared detectors. The WISE spacecraft bus provides communication, data handling, and
avionics including instrument pointing. A Delta 7920 successfully launched WISE into a Sun-synchronous polar orbit on
December 14, 2009. WISE was competitively selected by NASA as a Medium cost Explorer mission (MIDEX) in 2002.
MIDEX missions are led by the Principal Investigator who delegates day-to-day management to the Project Manager.
Given the tight cost cap and relatively short development schedule, NASA chose to extend the development period one
year with an option to cancel the mission if certain criteria were not met. To meet this and other challenges, the WISE
management team had to learn to work seamlessly across institutional lines and to recognize risks and opportunities in
order to develop the flight hardware within the project resources. In spite of significant technical issues, the WISE
satellite was delivered on budget and on schedule. This paper describes our management approach and risk posture,
technical issues, and critical decisions made.