Upgrading the Space Shuttle.
NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC COMMITTEE ON SPACE SHUTTLE UPGRADES
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The space shuttle is a unique national resource. One of only two operating vehicles that carries humans into space, the space shuttle functions as a scientific laboratory and as a base for construction, repair, and salvage missions in low Earth orbit. It is also a heavy-lift launch vehicle able to deliver more than 18,000 kg of payload to low Earth orbit and the only current means of returning large payloads to Earth. Designed in the 1970s, the shuttle has frequently been upgraded to improve safety, cut operational costs, and add capability. Additional upgrades have been proposed and some are under way-to combat obsolescence, further reduce operational costs, improve safety, and increase the ability of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA to support the space station and other missions.
- Manned Spacecraft