Was The Space Shuttle Doomed From The Beginning?

Submitted by: squrlz4ever 2 months ago in Science


I was once a big fan of the US Space Shuttle program. Then 14 astronauts died.

From Curious Droid: When the space shuttle was announced in 1972 it was seen as the space vehicle to make low earth orbit space travel and living in space an everyday reality. But in hindsight many now believe that it was a failed project that was hamstrung by lack of funding and interest by government and sky high expectations from NASA that led them to sideline safety to ensure scheduled launches continued on time in order to secure future funding.

There are 11 comments:
Male 4,239
All in all considered it's amazing that I can get anything to work
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Male 1,032
Thanks for the video Squrlz.  I remember watching the Challenger disaster.  In grade school the entire school would gather in the gym and watch space shuttle launches on a 30 inch TV.

I never realized why the shuttle program was so "ill-conceived".

I don't see how it's ironic that the Russians are currently better at getting into space than the Americans.  It seems like an Alanis Morisette type of "ironic" to me.
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Male 4,926
lockner01 You're welcome. I thought this video did the best job of explaining where the Space Shuttle program went wrong than anything I'd seen before. Like you, shuttle launches were a big part of my younger years. As a fan of just about everything NASA was doing, I was an uncritical shuttle enthusiast. I can only hope that younger engineers going into NASA will learn from the mistakes of the shuttle program and never allow bad decisions to put so many lives at risk.

In hindsight now, it all looks so unwise. "What? We're going to basically strap the astronauts onto an enormous, thin, exposed fuel tank, with no possibility of escape in case something goes wrong? Oh, and then also strap on two massive solid-fuel rockets to that big fuel tank? Enormously powerful rockets that can't be turned off once their lit? Oh, and this Space Shuttle has no real place to go? Just up and down, delivering packages, like some kind of UPS truck? WAITAMINNIT--WHY ARE WE EVEN DOING THIS?"

Anyway. I'm glad you liked it. Yesterday was a rough day. No one seemed to like anything on here and there was a lot of arguing. I blame the full moon. ~squirrel wink~
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Male 6,136
squrlz4ever The Human's shuttle was never intended to be more than a temporary solution to put a reusable craft into orbit NASA had far better designs already in the works when the Challenger exploded however when that happened development on such projects such as the Clipper reusable lost funding and basically scrapped
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Male 3,460
Could a person win an election if they promised a new space ship for orbital and beyond operations?  I mean a totally new design?  Would Americans be in favor of funding a space vehicle?  

The military gets 600+ billion, cant we cut that buy 20 bil and give it to nasa (doubling their budget)?
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Male 4,926
daegog Wow. Those numbers of yours are eye-opening. In other words, by cutting the Department of Defense budget by less than 3.5% you could double NASA's budget.
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Male 545
Sad really, like seeing a childhood hero getting old and decrepit. Even here in the UK, the mention of NASA always conjured up images of shuttle launches and spacesuits.
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Male 4,926
mrteatime It is indeed sad that so many lives and resources were expended on a misguided program.

I hasten to add that I am still a big fan of NASA; I'm just no longer a fan of the shuttle program. Throughout the shuttle years, NASA was still doing great and astonishing things with lesser-known, less expensive space exploration projects, such as the Mars rovers. In addition, NASA's Earth-focused work has been critical in shaping our understanding of global warming. Sadly, many of those Earth-focused projects are now being eliminated or cut under the Trump administration, which would rather eliminate research than collect data that conflict with its agenda.
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Male 4,239
The Challenger launch was delayed several times due to Mechanical malfunction. How much more of a hint do you need not to take that ride.
Some say the disaster was caused by leting a woman Drive. XD
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Male 4,926
dm2754 What I liked about this video is that it clearly lays out how the shuttle program wound up being an ill-conceived hodgepodge as a result of conflicting interests, compromises, budget cuts, and politics. What started out as one component of a grand design for space exploration became a "shuttle to nowhere" that was sold as an economical delivery truck for the Department of Defense.
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Male 6,136
squrlz4ever There is an unmanned spy version of the shuttle still in heavy use by the military
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