FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

Block 1 shuttles begun their lives as the designs used by NASA during the 20th century and the principle manned spacecraft for American missions until they were decommissioned from service in the early part of the 21st.

The Russians copied the design during the 1980s and developed the Buran shuttle along very similar lines. This deriative never entered active manned mission service and was decommissioned with the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Unknown to many the American had hoarded lot’s of spare parts, plans and modified the design for military purposes. This work was secretly kept up to date until the Mech Assault on Earth when three shuttles were assembled for use as part of the defence force for Earth.

Because of this, in the mid 21st century the design made a dramatic comeback. While the USA abandoned their use quickly after hostilities, they did licence the older design specifics to other nations who wanted them, thus generating a huge interest and forming a new space races amongst the nations of Earth.

The US Airforce altered the design for use as a large personnel transport with the main bay fitted with a passenger module which inside resembled a passenger airplane. These models were to be used as emergency reentry vehicles for larger space stations housing significant personnel. Shuttles were deemed better for these purposes than capsules.

By the end of the century use of these designs had been phased out again. But during the mid 22nd century the retro market had made the design come back into fashion and PacAero uses a few of the passenger models nostalgia models.

Russian firms have also reused the design, along with the Energia tank and booster system, but deployed from orbit as a longer range multipurpose spacecraft with reentry options.

The appeal of orbiters for the commercial space industry has been their ability not just to launch over 30 odd tons of cargo, but to bring down from orbit safely over 20 tons. The Russian designs include air breathing engine options for atmospheric flying and controlled landing options.

With the advent of Agrav technologies, the Block 1 Shuttles have seen a major overhaul with hybrid systems and have truly become a mainstream option again.

Some early Russian interstellar missions involved Shuttles as the main maneuvering and habitat craft being strapped to hyperdrive shunts and clip on HEPT drive engines, much like the older chemical launch systems.

Categories: Starships

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