« "This Place is Not a Place of Honor" | Main | "...An Eventual Treason Prosecution" »


The day after Columbia was lost, I wrote this:

My hope is that our government will treat this tragedy as the impetus to build a new launch vehicle. The first space shuttle contracts were awarded in July 1972 -- over 30 years ago. Much progress has been made since then in spacecraft design. Instead of trying to save money by extending the existing shuttle fleet, as has been done since 1997, we should commit to building a new orbital transportation system. I can't help but think that the men and women who gave their lives yesterday would think it fitting to see the first operational X-33 named Columbia II.
This just goes to show you how out of it I am when it comes to the latest news from NASA. The X-33 program was cancelled long ago. NASA is now focused on the Orbital Space Plane (OSP), a passenger-only shuttle designed to be launched atop a conventional multi-stage rocket. This isn't the breakthrough that the X-33 -- a Single Stage To Orbit (SSTO) vehicle -- would have been, but goodness knows we need something to replace the current shuttle, the design of which is now over 30 years old. More information on the OSP can be found here, here, here, and here.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Post a comment