Access to Space: The Space Shuttle's Evolving Role
INDUSTRIAL COLL OF THE ARMED FORCES WASHINGTON DC
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Access to space is of extreme importance to our nation and the world. Military, civil, and commercial space activities all depend on reliable space transportation systems for access to space at a reasonable cost. The Space Transportation System or Space Shuttle was originally planned to provide transportation to and from a manned Earth-orbiting space station. To justify the development and operations costs, the Space Shuttle took on other space transportation requirements to include DoD, civil, and a growing commercial launch market. This research paper or case study examines the evolving role of the Space Shuttle as our nations means of accessing space. The case study includes a review of the events leading to the development of the Space Shuttle, identifies some of the key players in the decision-making process, examines alternatives developed to mitigate the risks associated with sole reliance on the Space Shuttle, and highlights the impacts of this national space policy following the Challenger accident.
- Manned Spacecraft