The program was launched at the end of the program Apollo at the beginning of 1970s (January 5, 1972 by President Nixon) a time when budgetary restrictions for the NASA already began, what led them to look for the most economic means to maintain a human presence in the space.

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Purpose of the Space Transportation System

Every shuttle was conceived to make hundred of flights. One of the main objectives of the program was to build and to deserve an orbitale space station, what is coming true with the assembly of the international Space station (ISS), and to send satellite in orbit.

The shuttle was also conceived to repair satellites in orbit, and to bring back orbital payloads. It was the case of Solar Max satellite in 1985 and repeatedly the spatial telescope Hubble.

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Thinking ahead to what NASA would do terms of human spaceflight after the Moon landings, in 1969 the President's Task Group, headed by Vice-President Agnew, several scenarios. The Space Task Group featured three main options: a human to Mars, lunar and Earth-orbiting space and a reusable space ferry or President Richard Nixon rejected the first options as too expensive. NASA then to push for a Shuttle as building block for these other goals, the space station. NASA officials reasoned the Shuttle would be more popular Congress and the White House than other, more expensive options. Nevertheless, in the Office of Management and Budget slashed NASA's budget, eliminating any growth the foreseeable future.

During the development program that soon followed, managers simply discounted or ignored predictions such high flight rates as unrealistic. some managers felt that such lofty were really for public consumption or relations purposes and thus did not them seriously. In retrospect, Robert Thompson, Shuttle project manager at NASA's Johnson Center (JSC) said that I never we d fly more than once month, maybe 18 flights a year the maximum]. Even if virtually all payloads were to fly aboard the Thompson couldn t figure what the would want to do with all flights that were predicted by Mathematica.22 key manager remarked that there was design requirement for 55 flights per mainly to support the economics of system. In effect, the tail was the dog; instead of creating a system versatile and rugged enough to often and thus reduce operations costs, people were artificially creating a launch to justify a particular kind of