After looking into it a bit, I've begun to wonder why we ever bothered building the space shuttle. The Saturn V rocket system seems to have been much, much better. Consider: The space shuttle can launch a max of 65,000 lbs. into low earth orbit. The Saturn V could launch 280,000 lbs. into low earth orbit, or launch 100,000 lbs. to the moon. Ah, but the space shuttle is reusable while the Saturn V was destroyed upon each launch. The shuttle must be cheaper, right? Wrong. The shuttle has a payload launch cost of $10,000/lb. The Saturn V had a launch cost, adjusted for inflation, of just $4,000/lb. And that was at a time when each Saturn V was individually made; if they had actually been mass-produced the cost would have been much lower. I'm really curious; why on earth did NASA decide to scrap the Saturn V in favor of a system that has less than 1/4th the launch capacity, can't leave low earth orbit, and costs over twice as much?