The Story of How NASA Went From Space Shuttles To SpaceX & Commercial Rockets

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The launch of SpaceX’s DM-2 mission taking NASA astronauts to the Space Station was the culmination of years of development, and more importantly years of political and management decisions which shifted NASA’s reliance on internally designed and built launch systems to much cheaper rides on privately built rockets. It took the support of multiple Presidents and NASA administrators in the face of political opponents who cared more about the money being spent in their districts than the results that the spending produced.

  1. luke otey

    Can someone explain to me how the shuttle is connected to the fuel tank? how those the mechanism work?

  2. kineticdeath

    Its kind of weird, seeing the return to the classic style of rocket design. The shuttle (and buran) just look so different, its like as if they were sort of ideas bounced off a wall, given how they are the only winged spacecraft we’re sent up there and back. Kind of like strange outliers. I wonder how long it will be untill we ever see winged spaceships again. if ever

  3. Oli R

    Can someone remind me why Boeing got twice as much cash?!

  4. n/a n/a

    I hope that we’ll see Chinese entities land rockets because they along with blue origin & SpaceX will put pressure on ULA to innovate. There won’t be anytime for excuses once SpaceX returns people to the moon. I think it would be cool to see a meeting in a capsule in low earth orbit between XI and Trump to kick start the march toward global economic conferences in low earth orbit, it would be like the G20 but in space. Perhaps it would be called “G-X”. The Starship could hold more than two world leaders for sure.

    Overview effect will change our leaders.

  5. Ryan Fox

    Thank you Scott. It’s nice to see all the history in one video. I’d have to search through your content for hours to piece it all together. I love the what you do. Keep it coming

  6. Tiberius CX

    Thank you so much Scott,your insight and knowledge is always great!Keep safe.

  7. Yeet Man


  8. Bouslama Karim

    I mean Scott all US vehicles were built by private companies even apollo, Nasa acted only as a customer even back then but they coordinated and micromanaged more.

  9. Jumbo Dogg


  10. PsychoLucario

    and yet 10 years on, Constellation got renamed and put up front with all the same problems and all the same politics. its always shocking how much people are willing to be fooled by a new name on a failed project just because they like the guy in charge

  11. lextacy2008

    Love all your videos, but this one I’m going to have to thumbs down. Zero coverage of the elephant in the room. Learned nothing about the launch. Could have done the history of Space X as a second follow up video. This was waste of 15 minutes.

  12. Zalman

    Long story short.

  13. Marc Schouten

    Bob and Doug always gets a laugh from Canadians.

  14. Protheus

    It’s always so satisfying to hear “Fly safe”. And I never get bored, I start to watch these videos about the stuff I can make lectures about, yet still I just listen and enjoy. Thank you, Scott Manley, and thank all your audience. It’s all so nice to be united about space technologies.

  15. Allyn Williams

    Really interesting to think that we could be seeing shuttles flying today, not a decade ago.

  16. Chris Wesney

    excellent video

  17. drakah_zabyakah

    Scotts intro is so manly…

  18. CHEESEninja 2000

    A bunch of space nerds and geeks, what else would you expect but for Star Wars and Star Trek. I mean I’d do the same.

  19. Andrej Mucic

    Cheap Labor!!!!!!

  20. fs2728

    Instead of fannying around that way they should have used the time and money to build modernized versions of Saturn V and Saturn Ib with reusable first stage boosters.

  21. spider0804

    Loss of congressional control over space supply is the minute space supply started to actually be a thing.

  22. SaturnEnslaved

    60 years on from the dawn of the space race and we’re only just seeing what they had hoped to see in the 80s

  23. Snug Hug

    This is cool

  24. Adam Loverin

    I wanna know why there wasn’t more Jessie Anderson on the Demo 2 launch. Arabsat 6a was great for the 3 landings, but Jessie made it worth watching. Just sayin’

  25. Tazer Face

    What a journey so far

  26. Gary Bleck

    Fly safe… or else

  27. hellcat1988

    Wait wait wait wait WAIT…. Endeavor was thrown together from N.O.S. parts?!? You can barely trust those for classic CARS, let alone spacecraft!

  28. Martin Strümpfer

    If I was a project officer and somebody handed me a NASA document titled ‘C3PO’ I would have tossed it in the bin as some kind of joke!

  29. Louis T


  30. Busta Rogers

    We’re advancing as a species thanks the sacrifices of the previous generations, life was unimaginable for all of us in the past, yet all a certain few can do is judge, mock and manipulate the truth for their benefit, utter scum. Shame on you Liberal media, i say media but we all know the same people that own the “media” own the politicians. Trump2020.

  31. Kineth1

    I was genuinely surprised to see landing legs on the booster for DM2. Even more surprised to see that they barged the booster successfully. I genuinely expected them to suck every ounce (gram, newton-meter?) of performance out of stage 1 to ensure the success of the personed final stage.

  32. Axonteer

    i totally missed the launches of space X demo 2 and hoped for scott to do another video about the rest of the trip to the iss :-/ either hand rewatching 4-10h old streams is a bit much and i have to work so … guess another thing i missed

  33. Mace Windu

    Scott, I have a question:

    Who is landing the boosters? Are they controlled by humans?

  34. Gabby Tech

    halo ;D

  35. Geohie Kim

    at 11:00 why is there a random extra plume?

  36. FHM Consulting

    As this video shows, over the last few months the part timers, semi pros, amateurs and enthusiasts have raised the bar so much I think they deserve a dedicated Space\Science Channel. As dreams go this may seem far fetched but, as showed with SpaceX, from small beginnings an awful lot can change in 10 years.

  37. TheRedstoneHive


  38. Putin Kills

    When will the first astronauts be returned by Crew Dragon? From what I heard the current two astronauts will still be coming back by a Soyuz

  39. Pablo Sartor

    Starliner will don’t do a flight abort test?

  40. Blaide

    loved it

  41. Simpitriy Cuckinchenko



  42. Ghost

    Loved it

  43. Platinum Blast

    Hello There

  44. Radit204

    update on ksp 2 please

  45. Johnny Pope

    Great summary.

  46. Rupert Dodkins


  47. Timothy Pirnat

    Well done. Well thought out and logically presented.

  48. I TF· ·FR ME· ·R ATE TenF

    Well, that was fun. I just stumbled on this in the sidebar. It wasn’t in my notifications.

  49. Steve Cage

    Do you know them?

  50. SubHek

    They quit doing something and then had to do something.

    Also russia helped them.

  51. BrokenTimeMachine

    I like you Scott Manley but I am sorry about your nephew

  52. Tarka Jedi

    Excellent…. Really exellent job sir!!!

  53. guyranting

    Fantastic documentary on this history!

  54. Henden G

    What do you do?
    “I’m with C3PO.”

  55. Aubrey Freeman

    Thank you for just giving a history lesson. Probably the only YouTuber I’ll be watching so that I can focus on something other than the world burning.

    Also, could you do a video on small rocket engines like Curie, Rutherford, engines on the sky crane for the mars landers, etc? I feel like everyone knows the big boy rockets on the boosters and second stages but the little engines that could never get the recognition they deserve.

  56. Jeff Harmed

    Wow! In just 15 minutes you covered a lot of history. Can you put it all into a book or pdf?

  57. Knoz

    Nice Video ! I wish they would take some license from SpaceX in their SLS, like using cheap engines and no solid boosters. Hmm. Couldn’t they just use a couple of falcon 9s as booster for SLS, that would be neat if starship fails….. I expect it to work, though, nothing that exotic there, very solid engineering choices from what i can see, but just in case….

    Scott. Have you heard of the MESS around KSP 2 ? I have not looked into it much, but it seems like a MAJOR fail by the publisher. Too common these days….

  58. Jacobus Erasmus

    I’m excited how about you?

  59. Sky Hiker 9

    Excellent! Thanks Scott.

  60. Richard Jones

    And this is Sarge here… ‘You dont know my name do you’?

  61. Ninjastahr

    I’m so pumped for the next 5-10 years of spaceflight – we’re going back to the moon! Heck yeah!

  62. Steve Fink

    One of the your best Scott, nice work.

  63. Richard Grant

    An inspiration! Thank you!

  64. Greg J

    Great video Scott. Congrats on your 1m subscribers!

  65. Kryon Grainger

    5:06 He say “anyway” or “anoii”?

  66. Joakim Lindblom

    Bravo! This was an excellent summary of the last 20 years leading up to last Saturdays flight. Very well researched and presented!

  67. Roelf Pringle

    Great video. Could you do a follow up on what is scheduled for the future of NASA and the Commercial Programs?

  68. Jakob Wilson

    Another great video making space flight and our future more accessible to everyone

  69. weatheranddarkness

    somebody forgot to check their staging at 6:18

  70. Rocket Walker

    Great summery! Crazy to see it all recaped and see how far we have come

  71. TraficHat


    *Sounds familiar*

  72. KeatonMW3

    Very interesting, thanks Scott!

  73. Marthinneill Apoi

    *”i like him when Scott using teamtrees merch”*

  74. JackSpeed 439

    Awesome video. And a great explanation given the launch a few days ago. Most people don’t seem to know about the Commercial Space congressional hearings that had Apollo astronauts testifying that commercial space (SpaceX) was shit and space was too hard unless your a government.

    So it’s been a long road, go to woe.

  75. GabeDidIt

    Is it just me, or does Scott look a lot like Simeon from GTA V

  76. Mehtab Singh

    Congrats man on 1 million subscribers. You deserve it!! :)

  77. Joseph Melcher

    Many years ago I learned how to play KSP from your videos. This was the first channel I ever subscribed to. Happy to see you are still at it.

  78. Gregory Estrada

    I want to thank you for being you. Your attention to detail is amazing. Every time I get into a NASA conversation or when I talk about space for that matter, with my friends, I refer them to you. I do so because I respect your accounting. Keep up the good work, Scott.

  79. Rangifulla

    SpaceX working hard while the rest just fumble around

  80. The Darth Knight

    Scott you’re one of the very best at what you do here on this platform, thank you very much for your contributions to all things space and congrats on 1m! All the best to you sir.

  81. Johiah plays games

    They set a new record today, so that was neat I suppose

  82. Frank Nolan

    Bob and Doug. “Take off! Eh?” How many of you “hosers” get that reference?

  83. Pyro Wave

    Thanks for keeping the politics out and real info in! Great to see someone made it clear it took 4 presidential terms to get to this point…this deserve to be in US History text book.

  84. keco185

    Landing a rocket was exciting, falcon heavy was exciting, launching men into space was exciting. But what I’m really excited for is to see them make a starship bellyflop.

  85. Arnav Mummineni

    1:30 “the date of retirement was pushed back from 2012 to 2020”
    Imagine still seeing shuttle flying today

  86. Snyper1188

    Congratulations on 1 million subscribers, Scott! Thanks for the details of all of the in between, hope you are doing well!

  87. scasey1960

    How Nasa shifted from cost-plus to fixed-cost contracts.

  88. Badiu Cosmin

    Congrats on the 1M subscribers.Great content!

  89. Yeff

    Hey Scott, will you cover the KSP 2 situation? I think its kinda sad that a company known for its monetisation schemes has got the contract now.

  90. Fourth Root

    I’ve been following SpaceX closely ever since its second Falcon 9 flight. What a ride.

  91. Mike Cooper

    They actually named the office c3po lmao

  92. Android jackson lee

    Today’s “fly safe” sounded more like a threat rather than an advice.

  93. Blank Gaming

    I guess they called it C3PO since having a space program that has CCCP in its name wouldn’t be a good idea.

  94. awesome astronaut

    I cannot believe the one constellation test flight cost so much.
    I had a bit of nostalgia for constellation, cause it was the big space plan when I was a kid, but looking back it was just proto SLS.

  95. Jan Negrey

    Every time SG-1 ended near earth needing rescue, space shuttle was ready to help. Damn fine ships.

  96. Ostsol

    The most amazing thing I remember from the Falcon Heavy launch was the sight of both boosters landing on adjacent pads.

  97. ItBeNiro

    ‘As late as 2020’
    Well, finally a spaceflight date that was hit bang on.

  98. Idjles Erle

    Bob and Doug are such Kerbal-sounding names.

  99. Jackson Clouse

    From Star Wars: c3po and falcon. From Star Trek: Vulcan, Starship, enterprise (test vehicle)… did I forget anything?

  100. Rip Sumrall

    “Hey Doug you want to fly this shuttle cobbled together out of spare parts? ” “When?” he asks.

Comments are closed.