NASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake

The shuttle has cost the lives of 14 astronauts since the first flight in 1982. Roger Pielke Jr., a space policy expert at the University of Colorado, estimates that NASA has spent about $150 billion on the program since its inception in 1971. The total cost of the space station by the time it’s finished in 2010 or later may exceed $100 billion, though other nations will bear some of that. —Traci WatsonNASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake (USA Today)

This is painful to read. As an elementary student, I wrote to NASA in the 1970s, and somehow wound up on a mailing list for teachers. For years I received thick glossy publications full of diagrams and artist’s renderings of planned missions.

I can barely remember the post-moon space program, and I think I remember news coverage of the abandonment of Skylab in 1974. I would have been about nine when Skylab burned up on re-entry in 1979, and I remember that well.

I was always thought more seriously about writing about such things than actually builiding or flying in them, but of course I daydreamed.