Space ShuttleWith the final Apollo spacecraft’s flight mere months away, an internal NASA document examining the progress of the Space Shuttle program, approved in 1972 by President Nixon, spells out what seems like a worst-case scenario: thanks to the difficulties of creating whole new orders of technology to create a reusable space vehicle (on a budget which each successive Congress keeps slashing), the shuttle won’t be lifting off until 1979 at the earliest, leaving a potential four-year gap in American manned spaceflight when NASA was anticipating (and publicizing) a gap of no more than two years. (In actuality, the time between manned American space missions will be even longer than that.)