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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  599 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Space and Space Launch Updates

Frontline quoted a 70s-era Senator Al Gore about the time the Columbia broke up as saying "If we could launch the Shuttle with a bay full of feathers and have it return with a bay full of gold, we'd only lose $200m per flight."

At modern prices, 50 tons of gold at today's price is $850m. The average shuttle mission cost was $450m.





user-inactivated  ·  599 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The shuttle was amazing. Bleeding edge technology that pushed just about every boundary of what was possible in space. The problem with that? Pushing boundaries is very expensive. Multiple people- from the people at the Planeteary Society, Phil Plait, some JPL people I know for example- believe that the shuttle's high cost is why we have not left low earth orbit in 50 years. A program like the Dyna-Soar or likewise would have been a factor of 10 cheaper leaving more money for things like a moon base, bigger planetary robotic missions etc.

I love the shuttle. I love listening to Shuttle astronauts talk about what it was like to be a shuttle astronaut. But my admiration for the program is cooled by the reality of what it was able to do, its costs and all the compromises that went into the design to get the funding. I saw two landings. One of my big regrets in life is that I never got to see a launch.

am_Unition  ·  598 days ago  ·  link  ·  

When I was about 10, my dad woke me up around 2 or 3 AM, with a twinkle in his eye. He told me to put on my coat and come downstairs and meet him on the front porch. I asked why, but he said it was a surprise. He told me to look up into the sky, near the northwestern horizon. Out from behind a tree emerged this bright, moving light, shimmering, and leaving a trail of smoke behind it. At first, I thought it was fuckin' aliens. I remember my spine tingling like it never had before. He explained that we were watching the space shuttle re-entering the atmosphere, and I just stood there, jaw on the front lawn, until it vanished to the east.

Yeah, my dad is the shit.

kleinbl00  ·  599 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I was so mad at the shuttle I refused to see it hauled through the streets of Compton. I mean, I coulda walked.

The shuttle was a dare the NRO made to NASA and NASA called their bluff.