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A safe 777 is hard to build, but a safe orbiter is an order of magnitude harder, with respect to the range of velocity, temperature, and pressure that the vehicle endures.

It's not a totally fair comparison to say "Boeing can do it, why can't NASA and their contractors"

With current technology, it seems obvious that if we want to (further) develop manned spaceflight, we should launch unmanned orbiters with crash-test dummies and telepresence surrogates, and keep doing so until we've established a safety record.

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