"An Entirely New Type Of Space Transportation"

On January 5, 1972; 40 years ago today:

“I have decided today that the United States should proceed at once with the development of an entirely new type of space transportation system designed to help transform the space frontier of the 1970’s into familiar territory, easily accessible for human endeavor in the 1980’s and ’90’s. – President Nixon on the announcement of the Space Shuttle program.

President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discussing the proposed Space Shuttle.

President Richard M. Nixon and Dr. James C. Fletcher, NASA Administrator, discussing the proposed Space Shuttle. Jan 5, 1972

[Image Credit: NASA]

40 years ago today, President Nixon announced the development of the Space Shuttle Program, which was retired in 2011.

I personally consider myself a member of the “Space Shuttle Generation”. The program’s maiden manned-voyage came just a year prior to my birth and I’ve spent my life fascinated by the program. It was a great disappointment to me to see the program retired last year — especially with no system ready to replace it.