February 1, 2012

Space Shuttle's Legacy: Neither Cheap Nor Safe

Associated Press, Associated Press

The space shuttle was sold to America as cheap, safe and reliable. It was none of those.

It cost $196 billion over 40 years, ended the lives of 14 astronauts and managed to make less than half the flights promised.

Yet despite all that, there were some big achievements that weren't promised: major scientific advances, stunning photos of the cosmos, a high-flying vehicle of diplomacy that helped bring Cold War enemies closer, and something to brag about.

Former President George H.W. Bush, who oversaw the early flights, said the shuttle program "authored a truly inspiring chapter in the history of human exploration."

NASA's first space shuttle flight was in April 1981. The 135th and final launch is set for July 8. Once Atlantis lands at the end of a 12-day...

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TAGGED: Air Disaster, space

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