Shed No Tears: A Realistic Epitaph for the Space Shuttle

Here lies the space shuttle. She kept the U.S. human spaceflight program alive after the euphoria of the Apollo missions. She led the way to reusable space flight. She provided jobs for armies of engineers and technicians. She also made human spaceflight seem routine — and in the end, that’s what killed her. But as with the retirement of the Apollo program — which was accompanied by less hand-wringing and fewer tears shed than that of the shuttle — it is time, not to mourn the shuttle’s passing, but to support the innovation that NASA and, more importantly, American industry […]

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