Space Shuttle Program

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On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas and Louisiana upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. The loss of the shuttle and its crew was from a piece of insulation foam that detached from the shuttle’s external tank. Fuel had nothing to do with the explosion, they burned the remaining fuel before re-entry. Space exploration takes a lot of money, the budget increased 3.1 percent from 2003 to 2004. The Columbia incident was the second of two tragedies of space shuttle disasters in the past 30 years, the other tragedy being the
Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. These accidents are being used as learning experiences, to further improve protocol, technology and safety. Space exploration must continue, as we have so much
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The orbiter is covered with ceramic insulating materials designed to protect it from the friction heat of 3000 degrees F.
NASA’s 2003 fiscal year estimates totaled $119.7 million. The 2004 fiscal year budget was 127.5 million, an increase from the previous year. However, funding for the different programs shifted, NASA’s Deep Space Network and combined separate funding for Mars and
Solar System activities was removed, as well as funding for Project Prometheus in 2004. There are many programs; Space exploration, Solar System exploration, Biological Sciences Research,
Aeronautics Technology, Space Station and many others. Each year the budget fluctuates in the different programs based on need.
The Columbia accident introduced that its failure to return safely is a reminder that a space shuttle is a developmental vehicle for dangerous exploration and it can cost lives.
However, space exploration must continue. NASA and the shuttle program has 70% to 80% of the publics support. A survey taken by a polling firm found that 72% of responders said it was somewhat important for the nation to have a human space program. Space exploration is beneficial to our future and

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