Saturday, April 03, 2010

Buzz Aldrin: Why We Should Keep Flying the Space Shuttle

Buzz Aldrin: Why We Should Keep Flying the Space Shuttle: "Instead of planning the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, America should be preparing the shuttles for their next step in space: evolving, not shutting them down and laying off thousands of people. You know the very people whose experience we will need in the years ahead. Except if you lay them off now, they won't be around in the next decade."

Buzz argues that we should evolve the Shuttle platform just as Russia evolved the Soyuz. The shuttle has in fact evolved over the years, gaining "glass cockpit" avionics, drogue shuts and more. Plans were made for even more significant changes in the future, but those plans were scuttled after a second Shuttle was lost, and new vehicles were proposed - vehicles which Obama wants to cancel.

Perhaps those upgrade plans should be dusted off and reviewed. Perhaps the Shuttle-derived "Jupiter" launcher should be given another look. Anything is better than losing a skilled work force with 30 years of hard-won experience.

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