In 1972, the United States decided to develop a new form of space exploration - the Shuttle.
In 1972, the United States decided to develop a new form of space exploration - the Shuttle. Unlike earlier missions - where the rocket could be only used once - the new Space Shuttle will be used over and over again. The first major prototype of the Shuttle was due for public inspection at Houston, Texas on Friday (17 September).
SYNOPSIS: The Shuttle craft will be mounted on the back of a specially modified Boeing 747 jumbo jet. It will allow pilots to glide-test the craft after mid-air release. When the Shuttle is used for space mission from 1979, it will be launched with the help of two massive solid fuel boosters which are jettisoned when it has climbed 28 miles (about 45 kilometres).
The Shuttle is mounted on a huge fuel tank which separates just before the vehicle moves into orbit, 115 miles (about 185 kilometres) above the earth, at 17,600 MPH (about 28,300 KPH). The solid fuel burners parachute into the sea for re-use and the only thing that is lost is the onboard fuel tank. After its space mission, the Shuttle flys back through the atmosphere are glides back down to land.
The Shuttle is designed to fly a minimum of 100 missions to and from orbit. It should also carry as much as 65,000 pounds (about 30,000 killogrammes) of cargo and up to seven crew members and passenger scientists. It will be used to launch satellites and carry equipment and people to and from orbiting space laboratories. As the craft can be re-used so many times, the cost of the future United States space programme should be far less than the Apollo moon shots.