By Mary Sperling McAuliffe
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Extra info for CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962
The questionable choice of contractors and the design of a faulty gasket in the shuttle’s solid rocket booster – two factors that played a role in the subsequent 1986 Challenger disaster – were affected by the budget constraints imposed at the beginning of the 1970s. A longerterm consequence, the compromised technological design of the shuttle, is still in effect. As succinctly explained in the CAIB report (chapter 1): In retrospect, the increased complexity of a shuttle, designed to be all things to all people created inherited greater risks than if a more realistic technological goal had been set at the start.
1 I divide the historical narrative into five episodes: the genesis of the shuttle program (1960s–1970s); the shuttle program and the Challenger (1981–6); the postChallenger era up until NASA’s Administrator Dan Goldin’s tenure (1986–92); Goldin’s first term (1992–7); and recent years (1997–2003 and beyond). I conclude with key observations. 1 summarizes the key events and developments. HISTORICAL NARRATIVE The genesis of the shuttle program: the 1960s and 1970s The first quarter of NASA’s life is different in important ways from the agency’s subsequent history.
According to Goldin, however, that was what NASA was all about. The total NASA program budget was reduced by 40 percent over the 1992–2002 decade, and increasingly it was raided to make up for the space station cost overruns. In addition, temporal uncertainty about how long the shuttle would fly resulted in important safety upgrades being delayed. In 1988, 49 percent of the shuttle budget was spent on safety and performance upgrades; by 1999, that figure was down to 19 percent (Pollack, 2003). The flat budget situation affected the human space flight enterprise.
CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 by Mary Sperling McAuliffe