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Questions tagged [space-shuttle]

The Space Shuttle was a crewed, partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft operated by NASA from 1981 to 2011.

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What preparations would Hubble have needed to return in a Shuttle?

This answer states that the Hubble Space Telescope was originally intended to be returned to Earth in a Shuttle. (from shuttle manifest published immediately before the Columbia failure, showing the ...
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Precisely when did the Shuttle's roll program occur?

Previous answers state that the Shuttle launch roll program occurred as soon as practical after tower clear and was achieved by SRB thrust vector control. Can we get a more precise answer on the ...
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ACES helmet and space sickness

I thought I read somewhere that when astronauts removed the ACES helmet it often exacerbated space sickness. ACES (Advanced Crew Escape Suit)-the orange suit worn during shuttle launches Is there ...
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How was the airlock installed on the Space Shuttle mid deck?

I just finished the Haynes manual on the Space Shuttle, and it mentions that on some missions, an airlock was carried on the mid-deck area. I'm more familiar with the airlock carried in the payload ...
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After the loss of Challenger, why weren’t Galileo and Ulysses launched by Centaurs on expendable boosters?

The Centaur upper stage, the first hydrolox rocket stage ever flown and (in its highly-evolved forms) still one of the most-used, as well as one of the highest-performance (if not the highest-...
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What would cause the Shuttle's redundant computers to disagree?

The Shuttle had five AP-101 general purpose computers. As discussed in this question, the system was redundant and there was a voting process to eliminate a computer whose results disagreed with the ...
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Why use water tanks from a retired Space Shuttle?

In 2015, technicians entered the retired Space Shuttle Endeavour to remove the water tanks, with the goal of reusing these tanks on ISS. The space shuttle Endeavour is retired and on display at the ...
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Did moving a Shuttle Remote Manipulator System (RMS) from one Orbiter to another have any impact on operations?

This question Did each Shuttle have its own dedicated Canadarm? and its answer discuss the five different robot arms used in the shuttle program and how they were moved from Orbiter to Orbiter. ...
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Did each Shuttle have its own dedicated Canadarm?

Five Canadarm robotic arms were built. Five space shuttle orbiters were flown to space. Did each orbiter have its own dedicated Canadarm? Or were they rather moved around from orbiter to orbiter, ...
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What were the Top 10 Shuttle Risks in John Young's “famous letter”?

Whilst reading A Technical History of the External Tank I ran across this comment: Although the problem has not recurred, John Young, in his famous top ten Shuttle risk letter ...
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What is the function of the corrugations on a section of the Space Shuttle's external tank?

There is a section of the Space Shuttle's external tank that appears to have large corrugations. I spotted them and saw how deep they are in a photo in this answer, a cropped section of which is shown ...
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What happened to boiled-off gases from the storage tanks at Launch Complex 39?

Both Apollo and the Shuttle launched from KSC complex 39, and used liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants. These cryogenic liquids were held in storage tanks near the perimeter of each ...
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How was the Space Shuttle boat tail transported back to the west coast?

(moved from Aviation) The question Did the Space Shuttle boat tail used in the transport configuration save fuel? about the Shuttle boat tail prompted me to wonder how it was transported back to the ...
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How did Shuttle computers internally represent time?

How was time represented in the five AP-101 general-purpose computers of the Space Shuttle? How many bits? Encoded as a plain binary count? Split into hours, minutes, seconds, subseconds? Binary-...
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Why did the nozzles on the SRB's igniter initiator point toward the grain of the main igniter while the main igniter's nozzle pointed straight down?

How did the shuttle designers make those decisions? What made it a better decision to point the exhaust of the igniter initiator toward the main igniter's grain at an angle? What made it a better ...
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Have there been any examples of re-usable rockets in the past?

I am writing a piece about re-usable rockets and I'm wondering, apart from SpaceX, have there been any re-usable rockets in the past, success or 'failure', as in didn't perform as expected. Obviously ...
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Why is LOX on top in the Space Shuttle external tank instead of the other the way round? [duplicate]

Why is oxygen placed on top of hydrogen? Does this have anything to do with letting the warmer and not the colder liquid have a non-spherical bulkhead and thus more surface area to reduce boil-off?
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Was there any period of time when other U.S. launchers were abandoned in favor of the Shuttle?

The comments to this recent question disagree on whether the U.S. briefly abandoned other launch systems in favor of the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle was designed to be capable of bringing all U.S. ...
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“LVLH” on Challenger's cockpit voice recording: What was that switch for?

Veteran astronaut and mission specialist Judy Resnick was tragically killed in the Challenger disaster. Her last recorded words aboard Challenger regarded scanning for "LVLH" (low-vertical/low-...
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Why don't all SSME turbopumps gimbal with the engine?

The SSME low-pressure pumps (both fuel and oxidizer) are mounted to the vehicle structure and don't gimbal. The high-pressure pumps are gimbaling with the engine, so the propellant lines between low-...
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When was it publicly revealed that a KH-11 spy satellite took pictures of the first Shuttle flight?

Even before the first Shuttle flight, NASA was already concerned about possible damage during liftoff. They had arranged for a KH-11 spy satellite to photograph the shuttle in orbit. The operation ...
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What are the sparks flying at the bottom of SSMEs at the time of launch?

I saw the sparks flying at the bottom of SSME just before the launch in below video. Are they used for igniting the excess propellant gas? [9 min 24 sec][1]
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What were the hammerhead cranes used for?

During Apollo, the three Launch Umbilical Towers had a hammerhead crane at the top: Until 1994, the Space Shuttle's Fixed Service Structures were topped by literally the same cranes. The linked ...
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How much fuel/oxidizer was held in the piping of the Shuttle orbiter?

The space shuttle main engines were in the orbiter portion of the vehicle, but fed fuel (LH2) and oxidizer (LOX) from the external tank. Suppose the external tank is ejected before the LH2 and LOX ...
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Why didn't the Space Shuttle bounce back into space as many times as possible so as to lose a lot of kinetic energy up there?

From this video, I got know that Space Shuttle did reentry around 5000 miles away from landing site. It's angle of attack is maintained around 40 degrees during re-entry. If it is more than that, it ...
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Has there ever been an astronaut that bailed out on going to space last minute?

I’m just wondering if any astronauts have gotten cold feet last minute and have refused to go into space.
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How were the geodetic and geocentric latitudes of the Space Shuttle defined and calculated?

The image below is cropped from https://i.stack.imgur.com/4XFaJ.jpg as described in this answer. It shows a geographic state of a space shuttle at a given instant in time. There is only one value for ...
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Payload Specialist Training

How rigorous was training for Space Shuttle payload specialists? These astronauts were not selected from the normal astronaut pipeline, but instead were people with clout (politicians), PR ...
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Why SpaceX have the T+0 second in the countdown while the Space Shuttle 'skip' the T+0 second?

Does the space shuttle countdown skip the first second after launch (T+0) and if yes why? You can see this effect in videos like this one: In comparison with an ...
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Why is this part of the Space Shuttle launch pad suspended so high off the ground?

http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/missions/sts-107/images/high/KSC-02PD-1894.jpg shows a large part of the launch pad suspended off the ground. What is it for and why is there all that empty space ...
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Why would different Shuttle orbits have different mission directors?

The Wikipedia page for NASA Flight director Holly Ridings contains a portrait with two other STS-117 mission flight directors. The caption there says: Flight directors for the STS-117 mission in ...
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Identify this astronaut and shuttle mission

After about 02:00 in the Kinematic video SpaceX Delivers Critical Docking Adapter for NASA to the ISS the astronaut says: You know the Space Shuttle’s been with ...
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What if the Shuttle went straight up?

It seems like Space Shuttle vehicles ascend on a diagonal in order to enter orbit. However, what would happen if they just kept going straight up?
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What exactly is the purpose of connection links strapped between the rocket and the launch pad

I am curious on what are those multiple connection cables latched between the rocket and launch pad. What exactly is the purpose of it, I am aware that one should be for filling up the fuel. But ...
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Space Shuttle Orbiter VRCS

I am looking for details on the Space Shuttle Orbiter Vernier Reaction Control System (VRCS), used for fine maneuvers on orbit, such as docking. Wikipedia has very little information on the system. ...
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Slide rope way from launch pad of space shuttle?

In the MIT OCW of Aerospace System Engineering lecture 14 at 37:40, Prof Jeffery Hoffman talks about ropeway from space shuttle that goes to a bunker and then they have to ride a military tank ! I ...
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Who released pre-launch TLE data for the Space Shuttle?

The question Pre-launch TLEs for NASA launches asks: I was curious if the United States is on the verge of launching maned flights to the ISS, will anyone release Pre-Launch TLE data like was done ...
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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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Was Columbia’s CVR ever found?

Each of the space shuttles carried a cockpit voice recorder (CVR), similar to those required on commercial airliners, which recorded the crew’s conversations to aid in accident reconstruction should a ...
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Why didn’t the space shuttle’s engine-out checklists include steps for attempting a relight?

Throughout much of a space shuttle ascent, even a single SSME failure would have left the mission’s intended orbit out of reach and forced some sort of abort; a two-SSME-out situation would have left ...
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Why would a space shuttle have flown a normal first-stage and early-second-stage ascent trajectory during an RTLS abort?

Had a space shuttle suffered a main-engine failure very early on during ascent, or had a time-critical emergency (for instance, a crewmember unexpectedly having a stroke) occurred before negative ...
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Scoutleader looking for understanding of fuel burn for getting away from earth gravity Vs. fuel expended when traveling from A-B in space

I am a layman scoutleader and like to discuss the amount of fuel needed to get from earths gravity to the thrust needed in space to get from A-B. Is there a spreadsheet that would give course ...
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Trajectory impact in case of STS hold down studs failure

The comment on this question made me think, suppose all holding studs mounted on SRB’s do get failed, how much impact would it really result in trajectory, considering same fuel burn time of SRB’s. ...
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Saturn V and STS holding to launch pad mechanism

In this question on quora, the first answer mentions that for Space Shuttle launches they changed the holding mechanism to explosive bolts from the clamps used to hold the Saturn V. The video links ...
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Did every shuttle flight after STS-5 carry EMUs onboard?

STS-5 is the first shuttle mission to carry Extravehicular Mobility Units onboard during the Space Shuttle program. Due to various issues happened during STS-5, the first extravehicular activity ...
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Heat Shielding Material for Reusable Craft

I'm a bit new to all this and have a quick question about heat shielding. My research tells me that for reusable craft (i.e. Space Shuttles) they used to use a plastic-based shields that would burn ...
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Are there any photographs of the frozen waste water after a urine dump in space?

Astronaut Mike Massimino talks about watching the urine freeze outside of the spacecraft. He said they would all watch, it was something beautiful to see. Are there any photographs of this, or has ...
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What was NASA's Tire Assault Vehicle?

Why did NASA build a vehicle specifically designed to attack aircraft tires?
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What are these membranes at the aft end of the Shuttle that get torn off during lift off?

The link to the Space Shuttle launch video. At 1:30 mark, three circular disks get torn away. It happens immediately after the engine ignition begins. Here is a cropped image of the Discovery after ...
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What are the 'lights' inside Shuttle main engines at landing?

I have a night-landing photo of the Shuttle showing lights (I assume some type of glow-plug to burn off extraneous fuel). My understanding is that only the OMS engines burn to begin reentry. Can ...