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The Space Rac9 - challenge serving all the way up to the...

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The Space Race International Co-Operation In 1975, one of the Apollo Command Modules docked with a Russian Soyuz capsule, and the astronauts shook hands and shared food. This was seen as the official end of the Space Race, and the beginning of a new era of cooperation in space. But "era of cooperation" doesn't have a cool rhyme. Within a few years, the United States became the first to employ a new kind of largely reusable spacecraft—the famous shuttles of the Space Transportation System—which became a workhorse for the American space program for the next 30-some years. The Soviets would also develop their own reusable spacecraft, the Buran Shuttle, but it only managed a single unmanned test flight in 1988 before the program was crippled by the collapse of the Soviet Union itself. Even if it was a very promising platform * ), it fell victim to a general feeling that such expensive toys were unwise investments. With funding literally disappearing overnight, the new Russian space program was forced to fall back on the Soyuz capsules, which proved more than up to the
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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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