Why Did NASA Build the Shuttle Again?

The Space Shuttle didn't turn out to be the money-saving all-purpose reusable and safe space-truck it was meant to be. It is enormously inefficient, both in the engineering sense and the fiscal sense. For instance, to build the ISS, why didn't they fly the modules and a crew capsule up atop ordinary rockets? They would have gotten much better gas mileage. I bet the ISS could have cost much less than $100 billion.

I actually like the Shuttle, but it just isn't worth the extraordinary cost.

However, I hope that when they retire it, they come up with a new space vehicle VERY soon, because I don't like the idea of depending on the Russians to get us to and from the station.

(There are projects planned like Orion and Constellation. I believe these projects are already underway).

1 comment:

R2K said...

I also always ask this question. However, dislike the shuttle idea as much as I do... I dont think we should be left asking other countries for help to get into space for 3 - 5 years. That is just not our style, and it could even be a national security risk. We should extend the shuttle if we need to bridge the gap, as long as it doesnt take up so much money that it prevents the next system from being built. I was all for the new Ares rockets... but I guess I was the only one. :(