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NASA Grounds Shuttle Fleet

07/28/2005 9:25 AM

Although Space Shuttle Discovery's launch on Tuesday was deemed a success, NASA has decided to ground the rest of the fleet indefinitely. During the early phase of Discovery's launch, a chunk of insulation foam fell off it's fuel tank. While Discovery was probably not damaged by the foam, it brought back memories of the Columbia disaster two and a half years ago when falling foam damaged the shuttle causing it to break apart upon re-entry. The re-occurrence of falling foam debris has put NASA on edge and has led to the grounding.

So, have we reached a point where the Space Shuttle program should be scraped? They are proving to be inherently unreliable. Accidents have claimed two of the five original shuttles, and serious design flaws seem to be cropping up with every mission - missions that are becoming fewer and far between. While shuttles are necessary to keep the International Space Station (ISS) supplied and functional, they are costly, out-dated and and frankly dangerous. Additionally, they can only be used in "near Earth" missions like to supply the ISS or repair Hubble.

Thoughts?

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
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#1

Replacement

07/28/2005 1:54 PM

They were talking about replacing the shuttle by 2010. Maybe it's time to move the time table up.

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Guru
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#2

Jalopy

07/28/2005 4:34 PM

The space shuttle is like an old car. It's great not having a car payment, but can you count on your old beater to get you to work in one piece? Plus, what about all those out-of-pocket repair costs you didn't budget for? Seems like a hard-nosed cost benefit analysis is in order.

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Friend of CR4

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#3
In reply to #2

Re:Jalopy

07/28/2005 4:55 PM

The problem with this analogy is that the shuttle fleet eats up almost 1/3 of NASA's yearly budget.

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Active Contributor

Join Date: Jul 2005
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#4
In reply to #3

Re:Jalopy

07/29/2005 1:40 PM

My old car eats up 1/3 of my transportation yearly budget!

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