It was a strange sight indeed - one large aircraft carrying another large aircraft strapped on top. But that's exactly what skyward-looking folks in Washington saw Tuesday as Space Shuttle Discovery, atop a Boeing 747, made an inspiring pass over the capital in its final flight.
It makes you wonder: How can the 747 transport something that big and heavy? Well, the shuttle-airliner combo is not as heavy as you might first think. In fact, it's a relatively easy load to hoist.
When the shuttle missions started in the 1980s, NASA designated several places as landing strips for the orbiter, including Edwards AFB in California.
Manufacturing takes turns under all types of economic systems. In a free market economy, manufacturing is usually directed toward the mass production of products for sale to consumers at a profit. In a collectivist economy, manufacturing is more frequently directed by the state to supply a centrally planned economy. In mixed market economies, manufacturing occurs under some degree of government regulation.:-;,
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Well folks, just like the Apollo project, the Shuttle program is dead. All we have left is memories and pieces of scrap metal in a museum somewhere. Sadly, the next big space event will be performed by Nations with a vision for the future. Are we building aircraft carriers to protect the manufacturing jobs we have exported. to China, India, and the rest of the world? Who sets these priorities?
NASA is still doing impressive things with the small amount of funding they get, however I do agree with you for the most part. Manned space travel in the United States is practically non-existent in the United States and that is because of a lack of vision from our government. The bottom line is NASA is tremendously underfunded. For example, the entire half-century budget of NASA equals the current two year budget of the US military. If the US funded NASA like it did in the 60's (NASA was nearly 5% of the budget in the 60's, now it's only 0.5%) we would have already sent humans to Mars by now and would probably be on our way to Europa or Callisto by now.