GeekFun has been getting a bit of traffic from people searching for information on the space shuttle and they’ve picked up since the space shuttle fleet was grounded, again, after the first shuttle launch since the Columbia disaster two years ago.
If the searches are at all representative of public opinion among interested parties, there are a few people who think that, as one searcher put it to Google, “the space shuttle [is a] piece of shit.”
Searching for “that phrase on Google”:http://www.google.com/search?q=space%20shuttle%20%20piece%20of%20shit includes a link to a post I made right after the Columbia disaster questioning “the value of continuing the shuttle program”:http://www.geekfun.com/archives/000089.html. On rereading, its pretty good, and, still pretty timely:
bq. The shuttle is supposed to be reusable, so we put all our space flight money into reusing them, rather than into designing and building truly inexpensive launch vehicles (reusable or not).
bq. The shuttle is supposed to be reusable, so we keep re-using them, even as we should be abandoning them, and people die in vain as a result.
bq. Its a good time to take stock and figure out the future of the space program, rather than plodding along in the past.
In my analysis, I drew heavily from an article on the shuttle program I’d read a few weeks before. If memory serves, it was an online reprint of an article first published 10-20 years earlier, probably in the Atlantic Monthly. Unfortunately, their online archive search doesn’t go back far enough to see for sure. I wish I could give credit where credit is due.