Shuttle woes

Authors

  • Anonymous


Abstract

Shortages of spare parts and delays caused by unexpected repairs are most likely to interfere with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) goal of 30 annual space shuttle launches by 1990, according to a National Research Council panel. NASA's chances of meeting the goal of 30 launches per year are “impossible or highly improbable” with four orbiters and “marginal” with a five-orbiter fleet, the panel says. Furthermore, the lack of spare parts or delays caused by unexpected repairs are more likely to limit shuttle launches than will shortages of major units such as external tanks or solid rocket boosters.

Four orbiters could support between 17 and 25 annual launches by about 1990; five orbiters could support between 22 and 31, according to the Panel to Assess Constraints on Space Shuttle Launch Rates, chaired by William T. Hamilton, a consultant to the Boeing Co. and retired vice president and chief scientist of the Boeing Military Airplane Co. NASA's plans, however, call for 24 space shuttle launches per year in 1988, 30 in 1990, and 40 in 1992.

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