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The End of a Space Era

It was 35 years ago that the Space Shuttle Enterprise was dedicated. It’s amazing how fast this time has passed, and while I understand the lack of funds right now, it pains me that the greatest superpower on Earth will, for the first time in decades, not have the ability to put a man in space.

  • Gordon July 23, 2011, 1:26 pm

    Space Shuttle program was a disaster for American taxpayers. It accomplished little of genuine value and was outrageously expensive & wasteful.

    Original program cost was promised to be only 5 Billion $$ to routinely deliver big stuff to medium-high orbits at $118 per pound, every week or so.

    But the starry-eyed promises failed. The Shuttles ended up too heavy to deliver big payloads, and could only achieve low orbits.
    Actual cost was $27,000 per pound delivered to orbit. Worse, overhaul after each flight actually took many months and cost $1.5 Billion, making regular “shuttle” service an expensive joke on taxpayers. The Air Force quit the Shuttle program in disgust, early on… and successfully pursued unmanned rockets for its space needs.

    Much cheaper Shuttle alternatives were always available. The Soviet Soyuz launcher designed in 1965 costs 90% less than the Shuttle and has now in fact replaced it.

    When NASA had a blank-check from captive taxpayers, it created a ‘white-elephant’ Shuttle, useless space experiments, and a useless $160 billion space station (scheduled soon to be demolished).

    No tears for the Shuttle Program– only for taxpayers.

  • Keira July 28, 2011, 7:38 pm

    The problem wasn’t NASA and it’s shuttle program. It was the government approving and then later yanking projects after they’d been started instead of seeing them through. Talk about useless politicking and waste of funds. Things took longer too when the budget was cut (and cut again)… then when things took too long it led to even more cuts and cancelled projects.

    NASA did and still does have big plans. All it takes is money and government approval. As a taxpayer, I am happy to support NASA and it’s shuttles which is why I am sad to see the shuttle program discontinued. I am even sadder to see what it’ll do to the region and the highly skilled people and companies who worked in tandem to NASA that will no longer have jobs or contracts. For an administration that was intent on creating jobs and lowering the unemployment rate, Obama did the opposite. Where are these niche skills going to go and when they go how are we to get them back?

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