Not mentioned on the program were the series of impediments on the Shuttle placed by the Nixon administration and congress.
The original design did not call for SRB's. It called for a near-totally reuseable spaceflight system using SSME's (Space Shuttle Main Engines) in their place. The idea was that liquid-fueled engines were cheaper to operate and provided better performance. The OMB (Office of Management and Budget) pressed NASA to use SRB's due to their cheaper cost to develop despite their higher flight costs and environmental impact (SSME's burn liquid hydrogen with liquid oxygen whereas SRB's used aluminum powder (fuel), ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer), iron oxidized powder (catalyst) polybutadiene acrylic acid acrylonitrile (binder) and an epoxy curing agent.
Burning liquid hydrogen (LH2) and liquid oxygen (O2) produces H2O (water) while burning the fuels in an SRB creates hydrogen chloride - which reacts with the atmosphere to produce chlorine, nitric oxide - which may convert in the air to nitric acid and cause acid rain, carbon monoxide, water and aluminum oxide. In fact, the aluminum oxide burned by the SRB's was more hazardous than you might think:
"NASA tells visitors attending Shuttle launches. . . that a powdery residue from the exhaust plumes could be deposited up to 10 kilometers from the launch pad . . . can irritate eyes and respiratory tracks . . . even damage the finish on your car"
The DoD also had a negative hand in the design process. Due to budget restrictions placed on NASA by the politicians (the same ones who cancelled continuing Apollo missions that would have had a space station long before the ISS and even settlements on The Moon and Mars long before now), the DoD's committment to use the Shuttle was enlisted to help pay for development and operating costs. The DoD and the NRO (National Reconnaissance Office) gained primary control over the design process. For example, NASA planned a 40 feet-long and 12 feet-wide cargo bay, but NRO specified a 60 feet by 15 feet bay because it expected future intelligence satellites to become larger.
The Air Force also gained the equivalent of use of one of the shuttles for free despite not paying for the shuttle's development or construction. In exchange for the NASA concessions, the Air Force testified to the Senate Space Committee on the shuttle's behalf in March 1971.
The tiles used to cover the Shuttle were another example of "penny-wise, pound-foolish". There were other proposals for thermal protection systems but the tiles were chosen due to lower development costs. They were problematic from the very beginning - requiring up to a week for one worker to install one tile. They were brittle and could easily be crushed in ones hand. NASA also didn't foresee the amount of tile damage that would happen on each mission so a lot of turnaround time was wasted replacing tiles.
In the end, the Shuttle was basically obsolete by the time it was ready to fly. Onboard computers were so slow (based on 8088 and 80386 processors), that the astronauts took laptops with them to handle data. There was little attempt to incorporate COTS components so the Shuttle was a fine example of government waste. It's actually rather surprising the Shuttles were able to fly 133 successful missions (plus Challenger and Columbia) over 30 years.
NASA's goal of "a launch a month" was never realized, primarily due to underestimating the complexity of the vehicles and their turnaround time. NASA also never achieved the goal of lowering the cost of space launches - on average, each launch of the Space Shuttle cost a staggering $1.5 Billion with a "B" when you include development and other costs, although NASA estimated each individual launch cost approximately $450 Million.