Pay please! 135 flights between triumph and support mode – the space shuttle


The Space Shuttle, or Space Transportation System (STS) checked the manned space travel over three decades. From 1981 to 2011 it was the workhorse of NASA – with a variety of tasks. The spatial glider was a bond made of rocket and plane. And there were not the engineers or astronauts who bear responsibility for the two tragedies in 1986 and 2003 – it was impatient managers and a fatal feel of routine.

The idea of the Space Shuttle is a child of the 1960s. One was aware of a supply system for coarse tasks such as a space station, potential space power plants or even the assembly of a MARS spaceship. And through reusability, the planner wanted to save costs.

One of the concepts of two fully reusable systems. In addition to the Orbiter a carrier system, which returns to the earth after shipment of the shuttle to the earth. From costly, the concept was not pursued.

The idea of the Space Shuttle as the last child of the 60s

In 1969, NASA commissioned the US companies Lockheed, Grumman, McDonnell Douglas and North American Rockwell to develop a concept for a recyclable spacecraft. The domestic authority was able to rely on the projects X-15 and X-20.

During it the X-20 "Dyna-Soar" When a kind of one-man spatial glider did not manage from the concept stage, because in the early 1960s, resources were concentrated on the moon landing, the X-15 rocket aircraft of the US-Air Force came to 199 flights. The experiments delivered valuable data that was helpful for the Apollo program and the development of the Space Shuttle.


Further concepts that were discarded all in favor of the only partially recyclable space shuttle system.

In 1972 the development begins

Different concepts were examined. Some approaches that pursued a two-stage, completely recyclable system were discarded from weight and cost-based in favor of the space-shuttle concept: an orbiter with three main engines, which are fed through an external home tank and supported by two booster solids rackets. Although the representative hospital in 1972 approved the concept, but no longer at any price as in the moon landing. One demanded international partners and it should be borne by exposing commercial satellites.

John Young, astronautle legend and commander of the first Space Shuttle, learned about the moon of the authorization. On 21. April 1972 he was grade with astronaut Charles W. Duke landed on the earth’s trabor, which was pretended from the earth:

Houston: "Now the right moment for a good news seems to be. The Reprused Antenhaus has approved the space budget yesterday with 277 to 60 votes – so that the shuttle is secured!" Young and Duke: "Big! Outstanding! Big!" Duke: "Tony, I say it again, with a military grub: I’m proud to be American. I’ll tell you…" John Young: "The country urgently needs the shuttle; you will see!"

Since Young was directly involved in the planning of the shuttle, this was the same as a confirmation of a work order – on another sky corner.

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