I watched a thingy on the space shuttle last night. It reminded me about a concern I have had for a couple of years now. They build the shuttles in the 80s. They did great for a while, but a couple broke. It was bad, they broke with people in them… and on live tv. After the last tragedy, NASA announced they were retiring the current fleet because they were all almost 30 years old. This makes sense for obvious reasons.
Now, remember how all cars were retired after the early 80s? No? That is because they weren’t. In the 80s, they knew cars would only last about ten years. So, here is what they did. They kept making them. They are still making them. Every year they make them, they get a little better at it… and safer.
Cool, huh? Then how come no one has made a space shuttle in over 20 years? There are no new ones coming, either. They are still in the design and selection process. Really? Why in the world did that process not start the day after they built the last shuttle in the 80s? What have we been been doing for the last 25 years? Duct taping the old ones?
I am similarly puzzled with the Concord. It was built in the 60s for supersonic jet travel across the ocean. Then, that one crashed a few years ago because of the tire debris and they retired them all. So, what jet are we using for supersonic travel now? Surely, in the almost fifty years since they started building this they have newer, faster, and safer designs. Nope. There is no longer any supersonic travel. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone during the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, or now that those planes might need to be replaced.
This isn’t rocket science, people. Stuff breaks. Stuff is supposed to break, and you replace it. that is why tire companies keep making tires. Can you imagine if tire companies were run by the geniuses of NASA? You would to go get new tires and they would say “well, we expect to have something in the next ten years.”
Because I come to offer solutions and not just complain; here is my help. Dear people who make jets and space shuttles. After you are done with these that you are working on, please go ahead and begin working on newer ones. In fact, there is really no time at all for any reason that you should not be working on a newer, faster, and safer version of the last thing you built. Go get some engineers from the car companies. Those guys work 60 hour weeks trying to squeeze one extra horsepower out of cars.
I mean, look at that picture up top of the shuttle mating with the plane. Surely their offspring would create the uber super sonic jet, no?