Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The space shuttle program was a mistake

So says Carolyn Porco, the Planetary Scientist with NASA who leads the imaging team of the Cassini mission to Saturn. She is not alone in that assessment: NASA chief Michael Griffin has said the same.

The general public intuitively thinks that, because the shuttle is "reusable," it must be better its predecessors.  As Ms. Porco points out, the shuttle was never able to carry the same payload as the bigger Apollo era rockets.  Part of the cause of this is that making the shuttle "reusable" makes it heavier than it would otherwise have to be and this makes it both more expensive and less capable than non-reusable rockets.

Hat tip: Instapundit.

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