Every once in a while I'll have a friend link me to an article about the old Space Shuttle. About what a great vehicle it was and how proud some city or another is to have part of the mothballed fleet in their community museum.
I get really sick of this. Because the Space Shuttle was a piece of shit. It was poorly designed and poorly utilized. It was a failure in so many ways as a space vehicle that it's hard to get your mind around how feeble it truly was.
It was supposed to have heralded the inception of the regularly scheduled reusable orbital spacecraft. In fact, though, it was a money-pit and dangerous for people who not only had to fly it, but who had to work around it. In all of the years it was used it never lived up to its hype and by the time it was discontinued it had the reputation of being a truly dangerous vehicle.
Some people have argued the point that it flew X-number of missions with only two failures and wasn't statistically as dangerous as I say it was. In fact, though, they're working from the wrong model. The fleet was five-strong. Of the five vehicles, two had catastrophic failures that resulted in the total destruction of the vehicles and the deaths of their entire crews. That means that 40% of the fleet ended up killing everyone who was aboard.
Now, I don't know about you, but if I was asked to use a vehicle that had a 40% failure rate that resulted in everyone on it being killed, I wouldn't even think about climbing aboard. What if 40% of every Ford Falcon had disintegrated, causing the death of everyone driving and riding in them. Would you honor such a vehicle or wish to use it? I might write a column about how shitty the concept was, but I'd be damned if I'd be proud of it.
So, to my pals who keep sending me links about the fucking Space Shuttle: cut it the fuck out.
It was a piece of shit and a lasting shame to our space program.