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The Legacy of the Space Shuttle Program

The Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-memb...

Image via Wikipedia

The final launch of the U.S. Space Shuttle Program will come this week, barring inclement weather at the Kennedy Space Center.  Here are some final looks at the thirty-year program:

Reuters looks at the Space Shuttle Program by the numbers.  The story points out that the entire thirty years of the program only cost just under $200 billion, pocket change compared to some recent government spending.  This story points out that Medicare spent just as much in a five-month span in 2010.

However, not everyone is looking at the positives when it comes to cost.

This last flight aboard Atlantis will be the program’s 135, and only a cargo shipping mission.  The final flight will be the first since 1983 to only take four astronauts because of the lack of another shuttle if Atlantis is damaged in flight.  If that happens, the U.S. would have to requisition the Russian Soyuz, which would be very expensive and could only bring two of them home at a time.

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