Why did NASA dispense with the Shuttle programme?

Todd Bowen

The Space Shuttle programme was conceived as a plan to design a spacecraft that could work as a reusable ‘space truck’. It would be used as a workhorse to provide cheap access to low Earth orbit for the US and associated partners. The main goal of the Space Shuttle was the planned construction of a United States space station in the early-Nineties. After completion of this station, the Shuttle would then be retired and replaced with a new vehicle.

Despite flying 135 missions, the Shuttle never really fully achieved its original plans, with nine flights being the most

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Strike Test Squadron — NAS Pax River

Located at naval Air station Patuxent River in Maryland, the Strike Test Squadron is responsible for the testing of all carrier-based combat aircraft in the US Naval inventory.

The unit is currently involved in flight testing all the systems on Grumman F-14s, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18s and Grumman EA-6Bs. Before any new system can be incorporated into a fleet aircraft it is thoroughly tested by the unit. The unit is equipped with four F-14As, one ‘B’ and two ‘D’ model Tomcats, and some 12 F/A-18s are on hand varying from Lot 5 aircraft to the newest Lot 18 Hornet.

These were

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Raptor under threat.

In what could become one of the most infamous decisions concerning a major procurement programme in recent years, the House Appropriations Committee’s defence panel subcommittee has endorsed a proposal to remove the six F-22A Raptor next-generation fighters from the FY2000 Defense Budget. This would save $1.8 billion which it feels would be better spent on pilot retention, readiness shortfalls and ordering additional fighters of existing types — however, $1.2 billion would be included for F-22 research and development (R&D).

The committee also approved an overall defence spending bill of $266.1 billion, this is $15.5 billion more than in FY99 and

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Pentagon Slashes C-5 Modernisation

THE US Air Force has pulled the plug on the long-standing scheme to re-engine its entire fleet of C-5 Galaxy airlifters and convert them to C-5M versions. The ‘M’ suffix signifies ‘modernised’.

Under the reliability enhancement and re-engining programme (RERP), antiquated General Electric TF39-GE-1C turbofan engines, which are costly to maintain and supply, are being replaced by new, General Electric CF6^0C2 engines. Air Force leaders badly wanted to put new engines on all Galaxys; the decision will force them to operate a fleet of C-5s with two engine types.

In November 2007, a quarterly Pentagon report confirmed what many had

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AirForces News 02 1991

A-12 Cancelled & B-2 Delayed

AFTER MONTHS OF uncertainty, the A-12A Avenger II development programme has been scrapped. The decision, announced by US Defence Secretary Dick Cheney after he had been briefed on the revised project programme on January 4, has stunned defence chiefs and comes as a bitter blow to General Dynamics and McDonnell Douglas which had jointly developed the aircraft as a next-generation carrier-borne replacement for the US Navy Grumman A-6E Intruder fleet. Original USN requirement for the type had been for 858 to be in service eventually but constant USN budget restrictions and cost overruns on the

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