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Shortly after the Space Race began, an early objective was to get a person into Earth orbit as soon as possible, therefore the simplest spacecraft that could be launched by existing rockets was favored. The US Air Force's Man in Space Soonest program considered many manned spacecraft designs, ranging from rocket planes like the X-15, to small ballistic space capsules.[35] By 1958, the space plane concepts were eliminated in favor of the ballistic capsule.[36]

When NASA was created that sam...
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