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Questions tagged [external-tank]

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Why didn’t the space shuttle external tank have pressure-relief vents?

During a space shuttle abort, it would have been vitally important not to allow the vehicle to droop below 265 kilofeet during powered flight, as excessive aerodynamic heating below 265 kft would have ...
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1answer
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Deciding factors for launch site

While deciding the launch site layout, what parameters are considered? I understand that the various components like monitoring station, propellant storage tanks are kept at some safe distance. How ...
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What's on the bottom of the Shuttle's external fuel tank?

In the Wikipedia article about Spaceplane there's a (rare and cool) shot of the Space Shuttle from one of the SBRs immediately after it was released. The web page for the image says: Space Shuttle ...
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Why didn't the space shuttle use non-foam-shedding external tanks?

Throughout its lifetime, the Space Shuttle's external tank had severe problems with portions of its foam insulation coming apart and falling off, which NASA was never able to fix. The flying ...
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Challenger disaster: how full was the external tank at the time of destruction?

We have all heard about the Challenger disaster. Reading the Vehicle breakup subsection, this sentence made me very curious: The external tank at this point suffered a complete structural failure, ...
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Why is the shuttle's external tank's metal skin painted the same dark color as the foam insulation?

The last flight-qualified space shuttle external tank in existence is now in Los Angeles and moved to its new home over the weekend. I noticed that what appears to be the metal skin under the ...
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Why did the External Tank not have its own engines?

Please edit, if 'engines' is not the correct term (layman here). As I understand it, you have your SRB's, then they detached, and the External Tank supplied the liquid oxygen and hydrogen fuel to the ...
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What is the 'ET Disposal Problem'?

In reading a question over on Physics.SE (I can't quite remember what it was about, something to do with rocket stages and launching over water) I came across a link to this picture:- Over on the ...
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Did some of the Shuttle fuel tanks actually orbit?

In Buzz Aldrin's book Encounter with Tiber, he mentions that some of the Space Shuttle's fuel tanks actually made it to orbit. Did this actually happen, and if so, for how long did they stay in orbit, ...
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Were Space Shuttle External Tanks recoverable and reusable?

During the launch of STS vehicle, the two stage 0 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) were jettisoned and recovered after they gently parachuted into the ocean: But what happened with the STS External Tanks ...