Could we use parts of previous space missions to build a space station?

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Gozoman  asked the Naked Scientists:

Since the first shuttle launch in 1981 there have been around 120 missions. Each time the liquid fuel tank was jettisoned and burned up on re-entry. Given the massive cost involved in getting the tank up there why were these not put into orbit and used to construct an orbiting space station?

Thanks guys and keep up the good work. I will be listening to a few shows on my flight to Malta next month which should make the time fly in!
Alex Tyrrell

What do you think?


Offline DoctorBeaver

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They weren't taken high enough to attain orbit. The extra cost of getting them that high would have been too prohibitive.
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Offline syhprum

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The solid fuel boosters are recovered and refurbished (at least at the start of the shuttle missions they were but the practice may have been discontinued on safety grounds).