Sunday, December 12, 2010

Neil Armstrong sent Robert Krulwich, of Radiolab on National Public Radio fame, a letter. And he talks a bit about what he and Buzz did on the Moon in '69. And, I agree with everything he said. I'd love to hear Neil make an appearance on Radiolab.

And, i haven't changed my opinion about what NASA is currently doing. Going to the Moon was dangerous. And worth it. As far as the space program goes, i'm not risk averse. While one should do everything one can think of to limit risk, it's required to make progress.

The Shuttle accident rate is 2%. That's the worst of any vehicle that carried anyone into space. In my opinion, that's unwarranted risk. Use more reliable rockets. Further, the Shuttle program promised that it would be cheaper, through reuse of systems, than other vehicles. But it hasn't delivered on the cost promise. It's easily twice as expensive. Don't get me wrong - the Shuttle is amazing. While the external booster issue that the Challenger disaster exposed seems to have been solved, the wing problem that the Columbia disaster exposed was not solved. The program should have been terminated. I understand that the long-canceled National AeroSpace Plane did solve the wing problem. But that's not something that could be retrofit into the Shuttle.

So, the recent success that NASA has had with SpaceX is encouraging news. I was hoping that when the Constellation program was canceled, that something like this would emerge.

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