The space shuttle Columbia suffered catastrophic failure on her return from orbit on 1 February, killing all aboard. Retired Navy Admiral Hal Gehman heads the investigation to determine what happened. It is likely he and his team will identify the probable cause and conceivably even the precise cause. This will take months, during which the shuttle fleet will stand down; and then perhaps after months and years and billions of dollars, a redesigned and rebuilt diminished shuttle fleet will return to flight. Having now lost 40% of the shuttles built, we must ask if the program is worth it—and the answer is not obvious.