Originally Posted by MerF
Ok seriously though, I was talking with someone about this last night, and my conclusion is this...and it's completely my opinion....every single shuttle that has ever gone Mach 4 with a gazillion hp for 100 miles has had damage to it's belly/wings/skin. It's just that now that 1 time it actually was extensive enough to cause a mishap, every single one is being scrutinized and mulled over.
I would be willing to bet that all of them have been damaged, it's just never been a big deal because nothing ever came of it.
NASA went thru the same thing with the mercury, gemini, and apollo missions...untill Apollo 1. then they looked at what was wrong. its the way things work. if it works, dont fix it. but i have said for the past 15 yrs (first time I said it, I was 7...lol) that the shuttle needs to be replaced. the damn thing is over 30 yrs old, and its still being used.
buuuuuuut there is hope. NASA plans on retiring the Space shuttle once the ISS is complete in 2010 and are working on a new reusable craft named Orion, that will take us to the moon and beyond.