Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Congrats to NASA for getting STS-114 Discovery off the ground and into space (more here). Hopefully the crew can pick up the trash from the international space station, deliver the gyro, and come back safe. UTA alum Kalpana Chawla was a member of the STS-107 Columbia crew, so getting the shuttle back up in the air has been somewhat of a big deal around here. (STS-114 patch here)
I am a big fan of space travel and the "knowledge for knowledge sake" that it can generate (not to mention those nifty consumer spinoffs like Tang and velcro). However, can we please get rid of the shuttle - poor design, too complicated, too expensive, and we have lost 40% of the fleet over the past twenty years.
Space Ship One and the X prize showed us that low-orbit manned space flight can be much easier with a different model. Some at NASA likely don't want to abandon the shuttle design because of nostalgia or feather-nesting, but it never seems to have delivered as promised.
Complicated design or not, I am always amazed when the shuttle takes off - a testimony to man's genius and his stubbornness.
UPDATE!! From Drudge comes some de ja vu all over again.
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