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On this date in 1957 the US Air Force initiated the Dyna-Soar program.
In the simplest description of the program a piloted ballistic missile war head would deliver a 1000 pound payload to a target anywhere in the world and return to a friendly base anywhere else.
The program never became a success because of cost overruns, delays in the development of a suitable booster and the realization that instead of injecting an airframe into near orbit was wasteful when MIRV vehicles were an option. The program was not a total loss – many designs developed from this program directly contributed to the shuttle program.