Decision to Build a Space Shuttle
1972: Year of Decision for Future Space Flight
The fate of America's manned space flight program hangs in the balance in 1972. With only two more Apollo moon missions scheduled, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration finds itself without a new long-range mandate to send men into space. But Nasa believes it has the ideal successor to Apollo. The agency has proposed, and President Nixon has endorsed, construction of a reusable space vehicle, commonly called the space shuttle.
As its name suggests, the shuttle would be capable of ferrying men and equipment between earth and space. Its lifetime of up to 100 round trips would lower the cost of space flight substantially, supporters argue. Further savings, as well as increased operational ...