NASA Needs Redundancy
Imagine for a moment, a space shuttle or rocket is launched successfully but is severely damaged during take off or later damaged while in space. As a result, the spacecraft is no longer safe enough to attempt re-entry into Earth's atmosphere.
What are the astronauts on board suppose to do?
If possible, the spacecraft could attempt to dock with the International Space Station, but that no be possible or safe if the spacecraft has severe damage. The Apollo 13 Space Mission did not even have this option either; yet fortunately, they were able to safely return to Earth.
Basically, NASA does not have an emergency rescue plan for these types of situations. Ignoring the costs for a moment, it should not be difficult to always have a backup rocket or space shuttle ready for lift-off when there is another mission already in space. This way, astronauts would always have the advantage of having a rescue ship ready to pick them up in case of catastrophic damage to their ship or life support equipment.
As for costs, these backup rescue missions could easily be retrofitted to a regularly planned mission and launched as a regular flight to reduce the financial impact. This is especially true if these rescue missions are unmanned.
In my opinion, I think the safety of the astronauts should be guaranteed as much as possible with little or no expense too great.
by Phil for Humanity