Nerd Post! (Travis)

11:40 a.m. ET: NASA: ‘Flawless .’

It’s been a 30 year run, with a few (fairly large) hiccups, but the Shuttle Atlantis has launched its last launch, marking the end of the Space Shuttle program (in a way – I guess it’s not really over until it lands in 12 days).

From an aero engineer’s perspective, the Shuttle was an over-designed and wasteful vehicle, in that it could do more than it needed to (for example, the wings are as big as they are so the Shuttle can reroute from the east coast to the west coast during re-entry at Mach 20ish IN CASE weather changes drastically or someone parks their car on the landing strip, which as far as I know it never had to do in 135 flights. And big wings means more drag, more fuel, more money spent). It’s like having a toaster oven in your bath tub – just in case.

But it’s a cool vehicle. And totally worth it, especially when you put the cost into perspective. The Shuttle’s 40 year program has cost around $200 billion – a quarter of what we’ve spent on the war in Iraq. And NASA’s annual budget is $1billion less than the annual cost of air conditioning for the troops in the Middle East.

I’m excited to see what the Crew Exploration Vehicle (the Shuttle’s replacement) will bring next!


~ by stormcellar on July 8, 2011.

One Response to “Nerd Post! (Travis)”

  1. that was nerdy.

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