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From tomorrow’s WSJ, the line of the month:

When it was first conceived, the shuttle was supposed to be a kind of space truck, going into orbit 50 to 75 times a year and carrying large payloads at a cost of $54 million a launch in 2011 dollars. It didn’t work out that way. The shuttle went aloft an average of five times a year. The cost-per-launch averaged some $1.5 billion. Its heaviest payloads barely exceeded what an unmanned Delta IV rocket can carry.

I’m reminded of what the expectations were for Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s. Something about that generation …

6 Responses to “I Don’t Suspect Green Jobs Advocates Will Learn Anything from NASA”

  1. Harry says:

    Every day, some company across the world reports earnings, and the financial press, including the television press, attempts to report why the price of the reporting company’s stock declined or increased by half a point or so, usually citing “analysts’ expectations.” Quarterly earnings were 53 cents versus 48 cents last year, and the street had expected 56 cents, so the stock of XYZ dropped a half a point, or 2 percent.

    I guess you can figure I am not a big fan of forecasting. However, I am prepared to say that wasting money, if one does it big and often, makes you poorer, and I am not bullish on GM with the Volt.

    It is sad to see our space program wind down, as we actively try to waste vastly much more at every turn. It is a bummer to have our astronauts hitch a ride to the space station with the Russians. That is bravery, only not as brave as hitching a ride on a Persian rocket.

  2. Michael says:

    I’m actually quite happy to see NASA go away; I believe the free markets can do it better. In fact, NASA was so bad that we now have some free market alternatives to launch satelites, still waiting on passengers but maybe not for long.
    I’ve heard that the problem with the shuttle is that they apparently had planned it to do several things, which made it inefficient at doing any one thing in particular.

  3. Speedmaster says:

    Did those Koch brothers put you up to this?! 😉

  4. jb says:

    Yeah sure. But I hear the administration has this really cool idea called high speed rail . This time it’s gonna be different see, because…

  5. Harry says:

    The Amtrak Velociraptor, from LA to Las Vegas, will have Moon Pies and Mars Bars on the dessert menu in the dining car, jb, along with Napoleon Slice.

  6. Rod says:

    I read somewhere that NASA’s new mission will be to monitor global temperatures from earth to determine how great the subsidies to alternative energy shall be. So it is written, so it shall be done.

    I’m not sure private space exploration has much of a chance. Yes, companies like Direct TV have an economic reason to launch communications satellites, but who will spend the billions and trillions it will take to send men to Mars.

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