Early in the manned program, Wernher von Braun had suggested that a reusable space transportation system would be needed. Proposals for reusable launch vehicles were made in the 1950s and 1960s, but the Kennedy challenge overshadowed their efforts, and these ideas were not given a lot of attention. Finally in 1972, President Richard Nixon announced a space shuttle program to the American public, saying that this would be an economical way to get into space regularly. A space shuttle is a reusable vehicle that takes off like a rocket and lands like an airplane.
The first shuttle was launched on April 12, 1981, and was followed by two dozen successful missions until 1986. On January 28, 1986, the booster rocket on the space shuttle Challenger exploded just after take off, killing all seven astronauts. All other shuttle flights were suspended until this disaster could be explained and fixed for future flights. Finally in 1988, the space shuttle program resumed with the return of the shuttle Discovery.
Currently there are efforts being made to make space travel easier and cheaper. New space vehicles are being developed for more efficient space travel. The X-33 was the first space plane that scientists attempted to develop. Although X-33 became too, costly to complete. Research still continues today to create a cheaper and easier way of space travel.
President Richard Nixon announced the space program to the American public in 1972.
The first shuttle was launched on April 12, 1981.
Two dozen other successful missions followed the first launch.
January 28, 1986, Challenger shuttle exploded just after takeoff.
Scientist today are putting efforts towards making space travel easier and cheaper.
X-33 was the first plane to be developed to reach these future goals.
X-33 was never completed because it became to costly.