The Newest Space Shuttle is Older Than a High School Student

Posted by Michael Pinto on Feb 16, 2010 in Science |

Watching this video on the history of the Space Shuttle Endeavour is very depressing to me. For starters the shuttle was rolled out during the Bush administration: No I don’t mean George W. Bush Jr. but his father! That’s right Endeavour came out the first year that Nirvana scored a hit with Nevermind about 19 years ago, a time before any living high school was born. Of course the construction of Endeavour was kicked off in 1987: This means the last time America was serious about NASA was when the film Dirty Dancing came out.

The baby on the cover of the Nevermind album

Above: How old is the newest space shuttle? Spencer Elden was featured on the album cover of Nevermind (he was the swimming baby) in 1991 and now he’s a young man.

And what promoted us to create a new space shuttle? It was constructed to replace Challenger which was destroyed in 1986. It’s amazing for me to think that after the destruction of the Columbia in 2003 that a replacement wasn’t ordered, instead we outsourced space missions to Russia. At that point the shuttle program almost came to an end, but even after a band aid was applied it seemed like the idea of having a long term solution was lost.


Above: Take a good look: This is going to be the only way for Americans to get to space.

I think there’s a good chance that America may be refocusing in on NASA again, but the harsh reality is going to set in that as of 2011 we won’t have the ability to get into orbit. I have no idea how long that gap will be but my gut tells me that it will last several years. In fact we could see China pulling off a moon landing while America can’t recreate the Mercury program from the early 60s.

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