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Jerry Pournelle called the Space Shuttle: NASA's full employment plan for former Apollo program technicians.
 
Nice article, I didn't realise that the shuttle had killed more astronauts than any other space vehicle. Point 5 maybe a touch unfair, all technology arguably is replaced with something better and cheaper.
 
The destruction of Challenger was caused by an SRB. The Columbia disaster was caused by its external tank. To claim a "40% vehicular failure rate" is just not correct. It’s not clear, but the author could be thinking of the program in general, not specifically about the shuttles themselves, but in that cause she would have to compare SRB / ET failures to number of SRBs / ETs, but not SRB / ET failures to number of shuttles developed.

Still, a 1.5% chance of dying probably isn't a chance I would be willing to take.
 
+David Barron, I think the fifth point is in reference to the shuttle being more expensive and less versatile than it was designed to be. At least, that's my reading (and personal conviction). +Michael Snyder, I agree that looking at fail rate of vehicle isn't the right measure - failed missions is more accurate (and fair). I found a stat somewhere that the shuttle was as reliable as most experimental aircraft. I thought that was an interesting way to measure the risk.
 
Jerry Pournelle: Now the poor design of Shuttle wasn’t all NASA’s fault. A misconceived idea of making Shuttle relevant to the military got the Air Force involved, and the Air Force mission given for Shuttle was one that caused an enormous complication in the system design and was ultimately responsible for the Columbia disaster. There was also the political requirement that the Shuttle use solid boosters built in Utah, which required that the SRB be segmented, which was responsible for the Challenger disaster. NASA didn’t choose those primary hampers. Even so, the whole purpose of Shuttle was to employ the oversize crew of development scientists, engineers, and technicians brought about by Apollo.

http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/?p=1992
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