>If we use the
>HALOverse material as reference, we can infer that the Salusian
>improved the orignal formula--there was a high rate of mortality among
>the first generation, with better rates in the second and third
The Salusian project's earlier revs were also somewhat less ambitious than those found in the source material, if I remember the early Halo novels right. They weren't trying to make a soldier with the full capabilities we see in a SPARTAN-III back in the first attempt. The early procedures were a lot less radical, and as such, they didn't have a catastrophic recruit mortality rate in SPARTAN-I or -II. The products were just less capable. SPARTAN-I troopers weren't so much Super-Soldiers as Really Good Soldiers.
The reason most of them are dead in the early 25th century is simply that SPARTAN-I was a long time ago. SPARTAN-II subjects received extended lifespans, but they also had very dangerous jobs, so there's only one of them left, and the SPARTAN-IIIs, well... they had the original Covenant War to contend with.
(As an aside, Project MJOLNIR actually ended up with longer legs than Project SPARTAN; after the Mark V, it changed from developing powered armor suits to cyborg parts, culminating in the the MJOLNIR Mk IX military/security cyborg full-body replacement system. In the present day it's still possible to find cyborg products branded with the "Mjolnir" name, but nowadays they're usually replacement parts for wounded soldiers and whatnot, built by the semi-private company (Mjolnir Systems) that the Salusian government spun off after the weapons-project part was wrapped up in the 22nd century.)
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