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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Did the Shuttle's rudder or elevons operate when flown on its carrier 747?

While being ferried on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, were the shuttle orbiter's control surfaces (rudder and elevons) adjusted by controls in the SCA, to assist maneuvers? (They were, after all, fly-...
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How were hypergolic propellants delivered to the Shuttle launch pad?

The Space Shuttle Main Engines used cryogenic hydrogen and oxygen, and this question explains how those were supplied to the launch pad. But the OMS and RCS engines used hypergolic fuels. How were ...
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What is the job of the acoustic cavities inside the main combustion chamber?

I am new to rocket engines. I was looking at an image of RS-25 engine's MCC and found these acoustic cavities, and I want to know how they work. Can somebody please explain their working principle? ...
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How would the STS have differed if it used J-2's as the main engine?

In the spirit of counterfactual rocket design questions such as this one - how would the STS have differed from its actual design if it used J-2's as the main engine? What would be the loss in payload ...
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How often were Space Shuttle launches scrubbed?

Reading Mike Mullane's book, Riding Rockets, it seems like shuttle flights were scrubbed, more often than not, during countdown after the crew had boarded, due to some sort of systems failure or ...
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Was this 1969 space shuttle feasiblity study too optimistic?

Why looking for something else on the NASA Tech Reports Server, I found this interesting October 1969 study on the expected turnaround time of a then-future space shuttle. Study was conducted by the ...
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How was the Shuttle loaded and unloaded from its carrier aircraft?

The Space Shuttle was ferried to various locations by the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. How was the shuttle put on and taken off the SCA? (Previously mentioned in this comment but never asked or ...
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Other Space Shuttle O-ring failures

The most obvious failure of the Space Shuttle SRB O-rings was the Challenger disaster. The burn through location was just about in the worst possible location to cause the catastophic damage that ...
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What was the nature of the known bugs in the Space Shuttle software?

It's been claimed or suggested in other posts that during the entire history of the Space Shuttle, only one software bug actually survived the development and review process, making it to flight. ...
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Did the Shuttle payload bay have illumination?

Were there lights inside the Shuttle cargo bay, either to provide illumination when the doors were closed or to better illuminate cargo when the doors were opened? Slightly related: Have optical zoom ...
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Did NASA distinguish between the space shuttle cockpit and flight deck?

NASA used both terms on their website, Cockpit and Flight Deck. One answer on Aviation SE Cockpit vs Flight Deck?says there is a difference between the two. Did NASA use the terms interchangeably, ...
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Why did NASA wet the road in front of the Space Shuttle crawler?

In this video, at the 6:25 mark, you can see a truck drive in front of the crawler, spraying water on the gravel ahead of the treads. Why did they do this?
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What was the volume of the Space Shuttle orbiter, not just the crew cabin or cargo bay but the total volume of the entire craft?

For context, after an in-depth Google search, I asked the question "What was the volume of the Space Shuttle orbiter, not just the crew cabin or cargo bay but the total volume of the entire craft?" on ...
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Were there visual targets on the Shuttle that could confirm the alignment of the Canadarm?

This answer explains that the alignment of the joints varied slightly between each Canadarm on the Shuttle. The amount of correction for each arm was known and programmed into the flight computer. ...
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Space Shuttle Moon Mission? [duplicate]

Theoretically speaking, could the shuttle have performed TLI, LOI, and TEI burns given extra OMS fuel? approximately how much fuel and payload bay space/mass would this take up and might there ...
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What was the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft escape tunnel?

The Wikipedia article for the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft mentions an escape tunnel: The avionics and engines were also upgraded, and an escape tunnel system similar to that used on Boeing's first 747 ...
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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 ...