New photo of the USSR’s abandoned Buran spacecraft. Photo by Ralph Mirebs (source in comments)

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Have you? Because you can’t type a proper sentence, and the space shuttle program was clearly a failure. The only people who think the program was a good idea are those who are scientifically ignorant and/or blinded by patriotism.

“It is now commonly accepted that [the space shuttle] was not the right path,” -Former NASA chief Michael Griffin

>Criticism of the Space Shuttle program stems from claims that NASA’s Shuttle program has failed to achieve its promised cost and utility goals, as well as design, cost, management, and safety issues.[1] More specifically, it has failed in the goal of reducing the cost of space access. Space Shuttle incremental per-pound launch costs ultimately turned out to be considerably higher than those of expendable launchers:[2] by 2011, the incremental cost per flight of the Space Shuttle was estimated at $450 million,[3] or $18,000 per kilogram (approximately $8,000 per pound) to low Earth orbit (LEO). By comparison, Russian Proton expendable cargo launchers (Atlas V rocket counterpart), still largely based on the design that dates back to 1965, are said to cost as little as $110 million,[4] or around $5,000/kg (approximately $2,300 per pound) to LEO. When all design and maintenance costs are taken into account, the final cost of the Space Shuttle program, averaged over all missions and adjusted for inflation, was estimated to come out to $1.5 billion per launch, or $60,000/kg (approximately $27,000 per pound) to LEO.[5] This should be contrasted with the originally envisioned costs of $118 per pound of payload in 1972 dollars (approximately $657 per pound adjusting for inflation to 2013).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_the_Space_Shuttle_program

Further reading:

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/jul-aug/22-how-to-avoid-repeating-debacle-of-space-shuttle

http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolpinchefsky/2012/04/18/5-horrifying-facts-you-didnt-know-about-the-space-shuttle/

http://www.technologyreview.com/article/424586/was-the-space-shuttle-a-mistake/

All in all, it was a step backwards from the Apollo Program that cost billions and an unacceptable amount of life, and prevented money from being spent on deeper space exploration.

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