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Thursday, July 28, 2005


Rich Melmon

This urban myth is amazingly durable. All of my right leaning friends believe it. This is silly. The shuttle is a deeply flawed design. Environmentalists haven't killed it, engineers who should have known better did. Apollo was reliable, and should have formed the basis for going forward. But military types wanted a space plane. So, the Apollo architecture lost out as old fashioned, and the new architecture, allowing flying won. But the new archtecture lead to complexity levels that were incapable of being addressed without adding additional complexity, which resulted in a complexity spiral that doomed the system to around a 2% to 5% overall failure rate regardless of of much was invested in corrective/reduntant systems. That reliability level can never be significantly reduced with this architecture. Said more simply, the shuttle is a kludge. Learn and move on. And don't blame phantoms.

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