Shuttle set back NASA 30 years
The space shuttle was a huge costly and dangerous mistake right from the beginning. Bringing wings and wheels into space makes no sense at all. The sole "benefit" is that it can land on a runway rather than using a parachute. Yes, the wings and wheels look cool, and the public enjoys the Star Wars fantasy of a "space plane," but this overly complex and heavy design leads to great expense and increases the chance of mechanical failure. Plus the overweight shuttle could only fly to a maximum altitude of 350 miles - compare that to the Apollo spacecraft that could land on the moon.
It's hard to imagine any way that the wings and wheels could be deployed for real space exploration. Even if the shuttle could reach the moon or Mars, it couldn't land because there are no runways there, and the thin Martian atmosphere (and non-existent moon atmosphere) would render the wings useless. And this is not to mention the fact that if the shuttle could land on the moon or Mars, it would not be able to take off again.
Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the many billions of dollars sucked up by the shuttle program could have funded NASA's very successful NERVA rocket:
Had NERVA been built instead of the shuttle, a manned journey to Mars could have been a reality in the 1980s.