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Space Shuttle parts manufacturing was distributed around the country for political reasons to ensure continued support from Congress. It would have been safer and cheaper to manufacture all of the large components close to the launch site, or at least at sites reachable by barges. The Challenger disaster was caused by a booster o-ring failure but there was no technical need to build the boosters in pieces joined by O-rings; they could have been assembled as a single large unit.



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