Dear Mr. Kalb and Fellow Readers,
The idea at issue is moral corruption not the Shuttle itself. The Shuttle program is the result of morally corrupt scientists and politicians. As a child reader of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and a natural fixer upper, I knew the shuttle was a mess when I saw it on the launch pad the first time.
I was in graduate school, and I dearly hoped for its success. But I was shocked. The pictures I had seen about five years earlier in the physics department did not hint at the contraption we behold today. The pictures showed just the shuttleâ€”a beautiful, graceful spacecraft as in the delightful 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Immediately I knew two fundamental problems: the solid rocket boosters and the external fuel tank. This was no spacecraft but a device jury-rigged to cut costs. I was appalled. Yes I had read about how enormously powerful the Shuttleâ€™s engines were pound for pound with a Saturn Vâ€™s engines. So what I thought; if they could not do a Saturn Vâ€™s job, who cares? I am not an engineer, but I do fix things; and this thing was not fixable. But I bought into the enthusiasm based on our sterling record of space exploration that had resulted in only three deaths after over 25 years of spaceflight.
So we ended up with the two obvious flaws killing a score of human beings: the solid rocket boosters and the external fuel tank, killing more astronauts per flight than all previous flights over the previous 25-year period. Is it any wonder the last flight had the astronauts cutting pieces off the shuttle so it could return safely?
And why are they sending PhDâ€™s instead of pilots and technicians? A PhD cannot run an experiment any better than a talented technician. You do not put a college graduate in charge of a helicopter when a warrant officer is sufficient. Why are they sending droves of PhDâ€™s up at one time in a grotesque vehicle?
The answer is we are willing to sign on to any project as long as it earns a lot of money or fame. I would not sign on to the Shuttle program in any capacity if I were offered twice what I am earning now. Am I a saint? No, I am just someone with a simple conscience.
All the Best,