September 5, 1984: Air Force Flight Test Center Last Full Time Space Shuttle Support

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  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Space Shuttle Discovery landed on lakebed runway 17 following its first orbital mission. With this flight (STS-14), the Air Force Flight Test Center Office of Advanced Manned Vehicles concluded its full-time involvement in the Space Shuttle program.

Advanced manned launch vehicle concepts were designed to meet the space transportation architecture and mission needs for the early 21st century and Concepts  described were based both on modest evolutionary and revolutionary advancements in performance technologies, but with emphasis on defining operations cost. Design options featured fully reusable, vertical-takeoff, horizontal-landing, rocket-powered concepts and include a variety of possible staging arrangements depending on the desired mission emphasis and the available technologies.

The Space Shuttle program was the fourth human spaceflight program carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, which accomplished routine transportation for Earth-to-orbit crew and cargo from 1981 to 2011. Its official name, Space Transportation System, was taken from a 1969 plan for a system of reusable spacecraft of which it was the only item funded for development.  The Space Shuttle—composed of an orbiter launched with two reusable solid rocket boosters and a disposable external fuel tank—carried up to eight astronauts and up to 50,000 pounds of payload into low Earth orbit.  When its mission was complete, the orbiter would reenter the Earth's atmosphere and land like a glider at either the Kennedy Space Center or Edwards Air Force Base.

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