Concepts of the Space Shuttle

One of the best uses of the internet, other than pr0n, is the amazing collections of old images that can be found on various sites. Flickr, in a bid to stay relevant, has been working with various museums to get the museum’s image collection hosted on Flickr’s servers. One such museum is the awesome San Diego Air & Space Museum. You can see their whole Flickr photostream here. Buried among all the great images, are some that are truly special. I know you’re busy, so I’ll show them after the jump.

Here they are. Concept and production sketches of the space shuttle. You can see the early concepts, some from even before the Air Force got involved and the space shuttle was going to be relatively small. Others show winged booster stages with jet engines that could fly back to Kennedy for re-use. You can see the evolution in the size and shape.

It’s a glimpse into 20 years of development of what America’s reusable space plane was going to look like. Enjoy.

All of these images and many more can be found in the Space Related Images gallery on the San Diego Air & Space Museum’s Flickr feed.

[Image Credits: Public Domain]

  • CaptianNemo2001

    There are only three real variations.

    The giant tube designs.
    The lifting body designs.
    and the design variations similar to what was built.

    Also to be found on the San Diego Air & Space Museum's Flickr section is yet more photos of the Republic XF-12.

    And a lot of other really really cool stuff but it can take some time to dig through it.

    • Vairship

      Yes, you can see how the Buran and Hermes ended up looking so similar.