The view of a rust coloured rocket carrying it's orbiter fuming giant clouds of smoke and rushing to the sky is iconic. But why do they only take off vertically? Let's find out.
An example of my explanation is that. When you draw to parallel lines with one vertical line connecting the two parallel lines and another diagonal still connecting the same parallel lines. The vertical line is shorter than the diagonal line. That's the basic answer to our question. It's faster and easier to get to orbit by going straight up from the ground.
Our planet is a huge complex made up of matter which is combined into an impressive mass. All that mass works as a collosal magnet that allows the earth to maintain the atmosphere. The atmosphere itself is full of matter that is gas which has its own density. When a shuttle is launched all this gases works as a constantly pushing unit causing friction. It took a lot of effort to lift up the shuttle and overcome gravity and friction.
The wings of the shuttle were put in place so that they can reduce the damage of the shuttle when landing. The wings were big enough to prevent the shuttle from spinning around when it's descending through the atmosphere.
Plane's engine needed air for them to work whereas shuttles engine didn't since air is hard to find in orbit. Shuttle engines only needed to burn rocket fuel.Shuttles used rocket engines. To fly up, a rocket engine has to throw enough thrust and burn the right amount of fuel to do the job. Infact, space shuttles needed so much fuel in their ascend to make enough thrust that they couldn't do it on it's 3 engines alone. They needed two additional rocket solid boosters and huge separate fuel tank. To keep the flight under control those 3 engines had to be minimily complicated in structure.
It's impossible to fly a shuttle through the atmosphere like a plane. This is because it would take more fuel and needed speed for the distance of the diagonal launching trajectory. To escape the earth's gravitational pull, the shuttle has to be fast enough to escape the point of the so called escape velocity. This velocity is needed to overpower the earth's gravitational pull.
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