In addition to being a historian and political junkie I am also a Space nut. I was hugely disappointed to see the shuttle program shut down with its replacement being cancelled because we plan to rely on the private sector. I do plan on buying SpaceX stock if they ever have an IPO though.
I ran across the below infographic on and decided to pass it along because I think the whole spaceplane concept is intriguing.
See how engineers turned the dream of winged spaceship into reality with NASA's space shuttle in this infographic.
Source All about our solar system, outer space and exploration