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A Cold War mystery: Why did Jimmy Carter save the space shuttle?

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Peartree

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Very interesting article. Thanks for posting it.
 

soopirV

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Absolutely an interesting read- and great confirmation that humans have always struggled with the sunk cost fallacy. I for one am very glad Carter continued funding- the shuttle program was a huge part of my childhood, disasters and all.
 

KidRockET

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A better question would be...

Why did the "One" kill it...
 

georgegassaway

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A better question would be...

Why did the "One" kill it...
Since I assume you know history and do have a clue what you are talking about, then why are you asking why President George W. Bush killed it?

It was formally scheduled for mandatory retirement in 2010 in accord with the directives President George W. Bush issued on January 14, 2004 in his Vision for Space Exploration.
 

KidRockET

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I assume that you know...

What they say about assumptions...
 

tightwad

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Excellent article, thank you and thank that peanut farmer for saving the shuttle program.
 

Peartree

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Why did Ronald Reagan push for the Strategic Defense Initiative? Probably for reasons similar to Carter's regarding the space shuttle: National Defense.

http://www.coldwar.org/articles/80s/SDI-StarWars.asp

Thank that Hollywood Actor for bankrupting the former Soviet Union.
Much of what was proposed in SDI we never did, and much we never intended to do. But the Soviets *thought* we were doing them. In order to defend against the things we did, as well as the things they thought we were doing, they spent far more than they had, and drove their system even further into bankruptcy. It was almost entire and economic war.

They went broke.

We're still paying interest on the money we borrowed to do it.
 

TopRamen

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Presidents are just figureheads anyhow.
The Defense Industry, Russia and our Military Needs saved the Space Shuttle Program.
War saved the shuttle.
 

DaveHein

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I enjoyed watching the Space Shuttle missions on television. I even saw a launch in Florida once. It was truly amazing. However, I wonder where the NASA manned space program would be today if they hadn't spent $196 billion (adjusted for inflation) on the Space Shuttle program. To me it just doesn't make sense to put something that's equivalent to the size of a semi truck (and twice the weight) into orbit just to launch a few satellites or ferry men into space. A conventional rocket is much more efficient for these tasks.

Without the Space Shuttle program we probably would be much further along in the development of manned capsule rockets. We probably wouldn't be in the situation today where we have to rely on the Russians to ferry our astronauts to the ISS. Who knows, we might have made it back to the Moon by now, and we would probably be further along toward a Mars mission.
 
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