I’ve always found it a bit strange that the space shuttle required rockets to help it get into space. I thought the shuttle itself could deliver enough firepower from its engines to launch it into orbit, but apparently that is not the case.
We’re not quite in Star Trek yet. Once the space shuttle program retires NASA plans to use the Ares rocket for subsequent human spaceflight missions. Ares is a two-stage rocket and will be able to carry 4 to 6 astronauts and a payload of 25 tons. It will be able to orbit Earth and carry supplies to the International Space Station.