User Input

User Input: Cheerios for Exhaust

As engineerd™ points out, Atlantis will soon return to Earth, and the only shuttles being built will be part of an eighth grade science fair diorama. I’m not as up to speed on the space program as I probably should be, but the successor to the shuttle program, named Constellation, is dead, all but dead, or at best tabled. When it was still a going concern, early designs suggested a return to the rocket approach for the launch vehicle, reminiscent of the Saturn V used for Apollo. It makes sense; long before things like Space X pushed for privatization of manned trips into space, commercial satellites and other bits of debris have been put in place by rockets. The point of the shuttle, though, was that rockets seemed very wasteful. Most of what you sent up never comes back; but again as engineerd™ has pointed out, building a reusable vehicle actually turned out to consume even more resources. So here we have a problem with two different, but equally undesirable solutions. It does seem a little unfair of me to criticize the boffins at NASA for not coming up with a better solution, because obviously this requires people much smarter than me. Therefore, I now put it to you, the Atomic Art Critic and Punmaster Society.

What will the next generation of manned space vehicles look like?

[“User Input” is the AtomicToasters Question of the Day™ asking you,
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