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NASA finally realizes the Space Shuttle is an X-plane

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NASA finally acting like the Shuttle is an experimental spacecraft.
Indeed, the spacewalk suggests that NASA has fundamentally changed the way it looks at the shuttle, seeing it as a truly experimental vehicle.

For years, NASA managers were loath to make this concession. It amounted to an admission of defeat. The shuttle was intended to be an operational vehicle - something that made going into space almost routine.

Twenty-five years and 14 dead astronauts later, NASA finally figures out that the Shuttle is an experimental vehicle. Progress of a sort, I guess.