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Just to illustrate just how utterly massive the R-134B would have been, take a look at this illustration from a report written by Jack Swigert for The Society of Experimental Test Pilots:

Shuttle Program at Astronautix

Image credit: NASA

Image source(s):

Mike Acs

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Four Space-Shuttle Concepts

Here are examples of tentative designs for a space shuttle, made public by members of the four industrial teams competing in the project:

  1. McDonnell Douglas/Marietta
  2. Boeing/Lockheed
  3. North American/General Dynamics
  4. Grumman Aerospace

Each of pictured space-shuttle versions is a composite craft consisting of two stages, a booster and an orbiter, and is launched vertically like a space rocket, as shown. It’s two stages separate in space, and both return to earth for re-use.

Image credit: Robert McCall

Text and Images: Popular Science