I am specifically interested in on-ground tests that were conducted after the full shuttle was pieced together (orbiter, tank, engine, boosters) for the first time (before STS-1).

Of course the number of individual tests may have been quite large, but what were the overall characteristics of the process?

Who ultimately decided if the shuttle was space-worthy?

  • $\begingroup$ I've narrowed the scope significantly, since all 3 close votes said it was too broad. $\endgroup$
    – user40
    Jul 17, 2013 at 22:30
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ In my opinion this is still too broad. To go by the criterion that Joel often uses on the SE podcast: if an entire book can be written on the subject then it's too broad of a question for SE. The shuttle ground test program could be (if it's not already) the subject of several books. In fact, the shuttle disaster alone is the topic of several books (perhaps most famously The Challenger Launch Disaster. Much of which discusses the ground test program for the solid rocket motors. $\endgroup$
    – Adam Wuerl
    Jul 18, 2013 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ It is a bit broad. The ultimate answer to your question is the checklist (such as it was) for the flight readiness review (FRR). Certificate of Flight Readiness (CoFR) I believe -- although I'm not sure how formalized CoFRs were then. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Jul 18, 2013 at 0:51
  • $\begingroup$ @dd3: This question regarding SSME and SRB testing may address your concern. $\endgroup$
    – dotancohen
    Mar 31, 2014 at 5:56

1 Answer 1


For your question of "Who ultimately decided if the shuttle was space-worthy?" the answer is the signatories of the Certificate of Flight Readiness (CoFR) Endorsement. You can see the STS-116 CoFR Endoresement here: http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/163551main_116-CoFR.pdf.


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