That Darned Shuttle

The launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery, reset for the 4th of July (wouldn’t it be a whole lot cheaper on the non ‘double time pay’ 5th of July) after two weather related scrubs, is now in doubt. A tiny crack has been found in the foam that insulates the external fuel tanks.

We are so petrified of failure that it is becoming nearly impossible to launch. The weather cancellations and the concern over this foam is fear related caution at work! That’s the way it should be, because there’s nothing the Shuttle is doing which is worth a human life.

Enough already. This is old line technology. There are better ideas, more benign ways of leaving and reentering the Earth’s atmosphere. Burt Rutan has already proved that with his “Spaceship One” launch.

Maybe it’s time for the government to get out of the way as far as near Earth orbits and payloads are concerned? It’s time to retire the Shuttle.