Nixon and vice president Spiro T. Agnew. They presented their objective after evaluating the previous studies related to shuttle science. First, to have a national space strategy and second, to build a space shuttle.
The big question took place while the earliest development of space shuttle, the debate was about the optimal shuttle design with the purpose of best balanced capability, development cost and operating cost. Eventually the already existing design was selected, using a reusable winged orbiter, solid rocket boosters, and expendable external tank.
The Shuttle program was officially commenced on January 5, 1972, just after the announcement that NASA would precede with the development of a reusable Space Shuttle system by President Nixon. The final design was less pricey to manufacture and less technically striving as compared to the earlier fully reusable designs.
When the Apollo space program was about to finish, NASA officials were looking at the big picture of the American space program. They used one-shot, disposable rockets. All they wanted is a cost effective, reliable rocket and something which is reusable. This main idea of space shuttle being reusable was that it could launch like a real rocket but land like an airplane which would be considered as one of the greatest technical achievement.
As soon as NASA began to study the ...
President Nixon in 1972 announced that NASA would develop a reusable space shuttle or space transportation system (STS). Later it was decided that the shuttle would consist of an orbiter directly attached to the solid rocket boosters and also an external fuel tank. It was awarded the prime contract to Rockwell International.
Then, spacecraft which were made used ablative heat shields that would burn away as the spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Where as, if the rocket is to be reusable it has to use the different strategy. So the designers and manufacturer of the space shuttle suggested an idea which was to use many insulating ceramic tiles to cover the space shuttle which could absorb the heat of re-entering without hurting the astronauts.
As the shuttle was to fly like a plane (more like a glider), while landing. So a working orbiter was also built up for testing the aerodynamic design, but it won't go into the outer space. This orbiter was named the Enterprise afterwards it was known as the "Star Trek" starship. So this required test flights which Enterprise took care of the numerous test flights and landings, where it was launched from a Boeing 747 and glided to a landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
At last, after many years of constructing and testing of orbiters, main engines, external fuel tanks and solid rocket boosters, the shuttle was ready to fly. There were total four shuttles made - Columbia, Discovery, Atlantis and Challenger. The first flight was of Columbia Space Shuttle in 1981, piloted by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen. It was the successful flight which Columbia performed and later other shuttles made several successful flights.