The Space Shuttle is no more. Atlantis returned safely to Earth yesterday, ending the final mission of NASA's 30-year program. The Shuttle was, as Christopher Mims aptly put it on Technology Review, "one of the most complicated pieces of technology ever conceived." It was also a triumph of design in the best, most expansive sense of the word: The STS (Space Transportation System) program literally set out to rethink manned spaceflight from the ground up. Post-Apollo, sending people into space became a design problem: not just "how," but why?
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