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NASA Space Science

Private Space Shuttle Flights 244

Posted by Soulskill
from the discovering-a-challenging-endeavour-for-enterprise dept.
An anonymous reader writes "It has recently been suggested that when the Space Shuttles are retired after their final flights this year, they may continue operations under the funding of private enterprise. United Space Alliance is considering a $1.5 billion per year proposal to take the fleet private. The aging spacecraft have been flying for close to 30 years, and NASA is retiring them for good reason. Is it safe to continue flights in private hands?"
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Private Space Shuttle Flights

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  • Re:Big RC tugs (Score:4, Informative)

    by sznupi (719324) on Monday February 07, 2011 @06:44PM (#35131282) Homepage
    ...and boosted to orbit as a payload of expendable launcher (with Russian main engine, to boot)
  • 30 years? (Score:4, Informative)

    by H0p313ss (811249) on Monday February 07, 2011 @06:52PM (#35131374)

    The aging spacecraft have been flying for close to 30 years

    That's a little disingenuous, while Discovery and Atlantis are from the original fleet are 27 and 26 years old respectively, Endeavour was a replacement first used in 1992 and therefore only 19 years old. Note that ALL of the current fleet have gone through significant refits. If I recall there were two refits for Discovery and Altantis and one for Endeavour.

    and NASA is retiring them for good reason.

    True. Nobody expected the program to go this long without a replacement. Up until the 80s and the Shuttle NASA had been fairly aggressive with new R&D. It's really easy to point fingers and assign blame, but quite frankly the hope and dream of the 60s has long been buried in bureaucratic mismanagement and budget cuts. There are a lot of people at NASA who, if given a budget and a free rein, could inspire us again.

    I really feel sorry for the under 30 crowd who never got to see the Apollo missions. Personally the only one I remember is the Apollo/Soyez linkup but being a kid in the 70s you had the impression that things were happening and that the future was in spaceflight...

Byte your tongue.