Questions tagged [space-shuttle]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
27
votes
5answers
7k views

What operating system(s) were used in the space shuttle?

Is there any possibility to learn and use the operating system languages used in the space shuttle?
14
votes
3answers
3k views

How often do other space vehicles visit the international space station?

I was surprised to read NASA's statement that This (27 May 2020) mission marks the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 that humans will fly to the space station from U.S. ...
32
votes
4answers
11k views

Was the Space Shuttle ever actually intended for the military to steal satellites without the owner's consent?

Related: Did the Space Shuttle have "military uses"? (This question is discussed in comments, but not really conclusively answered.) One of the military requirements that was added on to ...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why so many STS-61's?

Wikipedia's STS-61 says that it is not to be confused with STS-61A, STS-61B or STS-61C. Why were there so many STS missions where the name included the number "61"?
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Was it possible to simulate another atmosphere during Shuttle training?

This answer points out that the Space Shuttle's cabin atmosphere was designed to be equivalent to sea level air, in terms of both total pressure and oxygen partial pressure. However, could any of the ...
4
votes
0answers
49 views

What happened during this shuttle simulation malfunction involving a failure of a shuttle arm joint while moving the JEF?

This author (cough) begins to relate the details of a particular training incident during simulations for STS-127. However, they very sadly have not finished the tale. Does anybody (cough cough) know ...
6
votes
1answer
828 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

Query on movement of space shuttle during lift off: Three examples

I have a small query here on the three different movements that I perceived after looking at videos during take off of Challenger (1986), Columbia (2003) and Atlantis (2010). Challenger (1986): ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

How much reentry speed did the Shuttles shed by doing a series of sharp turns?

Jerard Puckett mentioned in The Pod Bay yesterday that Shuttles did S-Curve maneuvers back and forth across their reentry trajectory to shed speed. After a bit of looking, I found some reference to ...
4
votes
1answer
358 views

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. ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

Why were hot-stick downmoding to CSS, and the ability to use CSS for some control axes but not others, disabled during space-shuttle powered flight?

During ascent, if need be, a space shuttle’s flight controls could be switched from the normal, automatic control mode over to manual1 control (known as control-stick steering, or CSS), allowing the ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Did any of the Space Shuttle RCS covers ever stay on?

This dashcam video of the STS-133 launch shows some sort of plastic bag looking objects that blow off the nose of the shuttle in the first few seconds after liftoff. This answer says they are the RCS ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

Could DOD earth observation (i.e. spy) satellites have photographed the Columbia Orbiter on STS-107?

I read in an (unknown) aircraft accident investigation book that NASA engineers wanted to use DOD earth observation satellites to check for damage on the Columbia Orbiter during STS-107. This did not ...
28
votes
3answers
4k views

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, ...
13
votes
1answer
873 views

How long did it take to remove or install an SSME on the Space Shuttle?

Not knowing the steps involved, I am curious how long it took to remove or install an SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) in real life.
16
votes
1answer
1k views

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-...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
635 views

Why were these Shuttle purges done with different gases?

[F]uel cell tanks were drained of remaining cryogenic reactants. The oxygen system was rendered inert with gaseous nitrogen and the hydrogen system with gaseous helium. https://en.wikipedia.org/...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Why were two different California airbases (Vandenberg and Edwards) intended for Shuttle launches versus landings?

Vandenberg Air Force Base was intended to be the west-coast launch site of the Space Shuttle. Its Space Launch Complex 6 was only a few months from being ready for the first launch, when the ...
3
votes
1answer
116 views

What specific event determined the “end” of a shuttle mission?

We've had several questions about when a mission officially "begins". But what about when a mission officially "ends"? The Apollo Flight Journal stops the mission clock at splashdown. What was the ...
3
votes
1answer
169 views

Why didn't NASA re-use more astronaut crew members?

According to a popular space exploration web site, 355 individuals few in a total of 833 crew slots in the Space Shuttle program. That's an average of about 2.5 flights per astronaut, though many only ...
3
votes
0answers
90 views

Why were there painted black rings on the SRBs?

There were black rings on the STS-1 SRBs. There were even more on later flights. But there was a period without them at all. Why?
3
votes
0answers
102 views

Why was the risk of loss of STS-1 (Columbia) estimated to be so high?

There's this tweet from Wayne Hale, former NASA Flight Director Several media people have asked me about how risky STS-1 was. There were a lot of uninformed guesses circulating in 1981. Thirty ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Was the Space Shuttle balanced experimentally before flight?

Even spacecraft that are designed and optimized for a single mission need to be carefully balanced experimentally, and have ballast added before flight. Why did New Horizons have to be spin-balanced ...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Why do space rockets not start from an angle? Why go straight up? [duplicate]

I know that they used to have this idea, back in the day, of a "space gun" to fire somebody into space, and I understand why that was not safe or practical/feasible. However, once they had come up ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Who built the sparklers used by the Shuttle program during launch?

The Shuttle main engines used LH2 and LOX, and used sparklers to burn off the hydrogen that would be exhausted, unburned, during engine startup. (They pre-chill the engine components so that they are ...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

Did the LiOH cartridges for the Space Shuttle cabin and spacesuit share the same shape?

In this answer, I explain how there were two contractors that made the environmental control systems and their lithium hydroxide cartridges during the Apollo program. Garrett AiResearch made the ECS ...
9
votes
2answers
939 views

Aborting a de-orbit maneuver

I was contemplating on how a de-orbit may be abandoned post completion of the orbit burn, say, from LEO. A situation in which this might be necessary would be detecting a breach in the heat shield ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Were there contemporary criticisms of NASA's pre-Challenger plans to exclusively use the Shuttle for US launches?

Before the Challenger accident, NASA planned to use the Space Shuttle as the exclusive launch vehicle for the US. While the other major launch vehicle families were never quite discontinued, I know ...
2
votes
0answers
81 views

What happened to leftover food from the Shuttle program?

This answer describes some of the food available during the Shuttle program. Was any pre-prepared food left over when the Shuttle program ended, and if so, what happened to it? Addendum: I have no ...
4
votes
1answer
99 views

How did the atmospheres of Soyuz, Shuttle, Mir, and ISS compare?

Soyuz and the Space Shuttle each docked with Mir and the International Space Station. When docked, the crew vehicle and station each share a common atmosphere for the crew to breathe. However, how ...
42
votes
3answers
5k views

What would NASA have done if they knew Columbia was catastrophically damaged?

When the Columbia Shuttle broke apart in 2003, it was known after the launch that a piece of foam had fallen and hit the Shuttle. NASA apparently chose not to investigate it as well as they could have....
0
votes
0answers
46 views

How would the Columbia crew have been saved if the danger were recognized? [duplicate]

The space shuttle Columbia re-entered the atmosphere because one didn't think that such a big hole could be made into Columbia's heat shield. What if one would have assumed otherwise and the crew ...
7
votes
0answers
105 views

How many spacesuits were specifically manufactured for John Young?

John W. Young was a legendary astronaut: The first American in space after the original Mercury Seven, as Gus Grissom's co-pilot in Gemini 3. He got in trouble during this flight for smuggling ...
-3
votes
1answer
109 views

Why were the Space Shuttle mission designations so messed up?

Following the STS-27 flight the Shuttle mission designations got into a mess. The anwer to this question mentions that it was due to schedules being moved around. Now while it wouldn't have hurt to ...
0
votes
2answers
146 views

Is a low-altitude, stable glide really absolutely needed to bail out of the space shuttle?

After the Challenger disaster, the Space Shuttle astronauts were outfitted with pilot spacesuits equipped with parachutes and internal emergency oxygen supplies, and the space shuttle was equipped ...
14
votes
1answer
874 views

Why did the SSMEs gimbal during ignition?

During Shuttle ignition sequence: the engines always slightly gimbal closer together as they reach full combustion (I'm guessing, from the plume appearance). Why?
28
votes
1answer
4k views

Did the astronauts seated on the space shuttle mid-deck have responsibilities during reentry and landing?

Space Shuttle mid-deck, it doesn't look like there is much for the astronauts there to do. I recognize this photo was not taken during a mission. I couldn't find an image of the mid-deck during ...
0
votes
1answer
117 views

Bipropellant RCS systems: Do they go together with docking? Or with manned spaceflight?

In a recent discussion, I asked about using a certain bipropellant system for RCS thrusters (I was actually thinking about it as fuel for an MMU jetpack or the "scooter" commonly imagined in science ...
4
votes
2answers
246 views

Space Shuttle type tiles, or something similar: Commercially available?

Related, but vague in conclusion and not really the same: Is the technology behind the Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles used in any product today? By "Space shuttle tiles", I mean the white rigid ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

Can the different “additional” demands on the Space Shuttle be broken down in terms of additional demands on hardware? How so?

Related: Could Space Shuttle's wings be diminished? During the sanctioning and early development of the Space Shuttle, things got somewhat budget-political, and a number of additional design ...
9
votes
1answer
175 views

Source for Shuttle SRB segment history diagrams

I'm looking for a source for these ATK booster segment history images. Sadly absent user TildalWave posted a comment with a link to an article containing this one 3 1/2 years ago. I've finally ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

How many Solid Rocket Boosters were there in the Space Shuttle program?

I was reading the wikipedia article about the SRBs, which were retrieved, refurbished, updated and re-used. I understand that if they were taken apart and pieces were replaced, that there was a 'new ...
15
votes
1answer
604 views

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error?

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error? (I've never heard of any, and I'm curious if that is due to their extensive training, or if it's just that that sort of ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there any photo(s) of International Space Station (ISS) captured from above its altitude? [duplicate]

Are there any attempts made to capture an image of the whole ISS in one take? Or is it not currently practically possible? If Soyuz, SpaceX Dragon, etc. have cameras installed on them, images can be ...
1
vote
0answers
82 views

What is the limit to which we can scale up uniformly in all directions Space Shuttle SRB before it becomes unable to take off?

Let's say we like the Space Shuttle design so much, we want to use it as a reference for our new rocket. But we want to build rocket which will be capable of launching larger payload into Earth's ...
9
votes
1answer
242 views

How hard was it for the Shuttle to perform attitude control for the entire ISS? Did they have to calibrate?

This answer to the question How was the Space Shuttle Orbiter used for ISS Reboost? describes a procedure I never knew happened. When the shuttle was docked to the ISS it sometimes used its rear ...
6
votes
1answer
644 views

Why will SLS Block I bring less mass to LEO than the STS shuttle system did?

The Space Transportation System (STS) could bring a fully loaded shuttle orbiter of 109 tons to orbit (or maybe empty+payload 68+25=93 tons). The Space Launch System (SLS) Block I is based on STS, but ...
13
votes
1answer
444 views

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, ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

What are “applied moments of inertia” in the context of STS-61B's EASE/ACCESS?

This answer links to https://history.nasa.gov/spacesuits.pdf which shows the image below. (fyi Wikipedia's STS-61 is not to be confused with STS-61A, STS-61B or STS-61C, see answers to Why so many STS-...

1
2 3 4 5
9