Unformatted text preview: challenge, serving all the way up to the present day. This technology of unrivaled complexity came with a price—the Challenger explosion was the single worst in-flight space disaster of any nation (not to be confused with on-ground disasters, like the R-16 explosion), with seven deaths, only matched by the later disaster of the Columbia . It also proved Awesome, but Impractical in that almost all of its goals turned out to be much more easily (and cheaply) met by expendable unmanned boosters. The STS program initially aimed to achieving a significant economy of scale, utilizing a fully reusable vehicle that could be launched about once a week, but the budget cuts and technical problems had led to a severe scaling down of the project and resulted in only a partially reusable vehicle whose after-flight "maintenance" basically accounted to disassembling it and building a new one from the resulting parts, which usually takes about a half of the year ( so long, weekly launches )....
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- Fall '10
- Space Exploration, International Space Station, space program, reusable spacecraft, Russian Soyuz capsule