How sad is the Chinese space program if they’re having to steal info on the US Space Shuttle, the Lada of near-Earth orbit?

Why don’t we just pick a price and sell them that 1970’s crap?

US arrests four ‘Chinese spies’

Details about the space shuttle may have been passed on to China
Four people have been arrested in the United States for allegedly passing secret defence information to China.

A 72-year-old former Boeing engineer is accused of giving China details about the space shuttle and other aerospace programmes.

I recently visited the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC and let me tell you, the US space program belongs in a museum. Saying that the space race was just a dick-waving contest between two monopolist world powers is, I think, an oversimplification. More than that was driving the early exploration of space.

But since then, blech. Until lift technologies get beyond over-sized firecrackers, there’s no sense in getting fancy. It’s nice to know that NASA has finally figured this out after twenty five years of crap, not to mention fourteen dead astronauts. The Russians have had more people in space for longer periods, and they haven’t lost a single космонавт since 1971.

The Space Shuttle is an inside-out rocket, designed for “reusability” when the space program would have been better served collecting booster-stages and other detritus in orbit as material for a sustainable presence in space. It costs too much to lob that stuff in the air. Every time it comes back down, we’re wasting money.

Then again, the US space program took a wrong turn with the cancellation of the X-20 Dyna-soar project back in 1963 (another thing to thank that idiot McNamara for). Consign it to the museum.