A Very Optimistic Assessment of Potential Shuttle Missions

The “Joint DOD/NASA Study of Space Transportation Systems” was sub­mitted to the STG on June 16, 1969. The three-volume report was (and still is) classified “Secret.” A separate “Summary Report” shared the same classi­fication for 30 years, but was declassified in 1999; the following information is extracted from that declassified document.9

The study team provided an extremely positive assessment of the poten­tials of the space shuttle and reusable upper stages to carry payloads from the shuttle to higher orbits; the combination was called the Space Transportation System (STS). Its report concluded that “the development of an STS is needed to provide a major reduction in operating costs and an increased capability for national space missions.”