Flutterby™! : The Debacle of the Space Shuttle

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The Debacle of the Space Shuttle

2011-07-22 17:34:51.771839+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

[ related topics: Space & Astronomy ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2011-07-23 03:23:54.878831+00 by: ebradway

I dug a little deeper into the numbers. Over the life of the shuttle, each launch cost an average of $1.5B. The entire USGS costs about $1B/year to run. I've always been a big fan of space science, but I can't imagine that the science conducted on a single shuttle mission came close to the amount of science done by the USGS in a year.

The entire Shuttle program cost tax payers $176B. That money would have financed the USGS until almost the year 2200!

But that's pigeon-holing NASA when there are much bigger targets. The DoD spent $40B on the F-35 program, which was ultimately canceled. In USGS terms, that money would have provide science until 2050. The DoD current spends $20B a year air conditioning tents in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is, each year of the Iraq/Afgan "wars" could have funded USGS for 20 years.

Sure, the Shuttle was a debacle but other parts of the Government are much, much worse.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-07-23 03:51:01.334684+00 by: Dan Lyke

So for every shuttle launch they could have had 3-6 Mars rover missions...

#Comment Re: made: 2011-07-23 06:17:18.59496+00 by: ebradway

Yep. And every month of AC in Iraq & Afganistan could also fund 3-6 Mars rovers missions or a shuttle launch. In fact, two months of AC in those deserts could pay for one shuttle launch, two Mars rovers and a year of USGS science.

In many ways, I agree with the tea baggers that Washington has been spending too much money. But it's not on appropriations for science.

#Comment Re: made: 2011-07-23 18:16:21.861122+00 by: other_todd

That article is mistitled. There's not a thing in there about "how to avoid repeating." There's not a single constructive suggestion about what to do next, unless you count the ridiculous and wasteful suggestion that conventional multistage rockets are the only way to go. The article is all about "Why the space shuttle was bad," and nothing else.

Forgive my being touchy on this point, but I'm tired of articles which do nothing but badmouth and good-riddance the space program. Yes, NASA was a flawed mess from the get-go, but to say the whole thing was a waste of time, or that we have no need for space exploration in the future .... One of these days, to paraphrase what Larry Niven said, we're going to wish we didn't have all our eggs in one basket.