posted on Feb, 2 2003 @ 08:35 PM
The Space Shuttle system is an old design, based on old technology, using old technology. (For example, the engines use far more moving parts than
today's rocket technology)
It cost's about $500 million for each mission, not because things are replaced, but because that is the cost of maintaining the amazingly complex
shuttle. For instance, repairing a small pock-mark in a tile (they are a soft material, like a styrofoam cooler, coated with a thin sprayed-on layer
of glass-like film) is a time-consuming process involving a dental drill, special epoxy, clamps, and so on. It takes about two hours to repair one
dent the size of a pencil eraser.
Government contractors love this.
The shuttle was designed at the height of complex government aerospace contracts. It's an amazing, sometimes beautiful achievement of ingenuity,
design, and integration of unimaginable complexity. However... sadly, what began as a brilliant concept for efficient access to space, ended up as a
platform for lengthy, costly government contracts.