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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13 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why does the Falcon Heavy Rocket have a higher payload than the Space Shuttle?

The Falcon 9 heavy rocket has a thrust of about 5,340,000 pounds (23700 kN) with a LEO payload of 140,660 pounds (65.7 t). The Space Shuttle, on the other hand, had a thrust of 6,780,000 pounds (30000 ...
7 votes
1 answer
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Why were the SRB cameras looking down called "forward cameras"?

The Space Shuttle SRBs had cameras as well, one of them on each SRB was looking down just like the ET camera that streamed live during launches. Those down-looking SRB cameras were referred to as the ...
14 votes
2 answers
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Why is the Space Shuttle's External Tank fuelled through the Orbiter's main engine plumbing system?

This answer states that Space Shuttle's External Tank (ET) was fuelled (this process is known as Tanking) through the Orbiter's main engine plumbing system with the Tail Service Masts (TSM). One ...
3 votes
0 answers
189 views

What would have prevented a person from firing a rifle at the space shuttle during launch?

I am plotting a story set in the early 2000s in which a terrorist shoots a high-powered rifle at a space shuttle as it is about to launch. I have in mind that he would be located in the swamp to the ...
6 votes
2 answers
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Space shuttle HUD - flight director vs velocity vector

On the Space Shuttle HUD, in the final phases of TAEM (Terminal Area Energy Management), the flight director symbol (square with three dashes) changes to a velocity vector symbol (circle with three ...
11 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
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Why are the bottoms of spaceplanes black?

The traditional answer is that it's because black radiates heat better. The problem is that in order to get rid of heat at all, the surface must glow brighter than the surrounding plasma. And that ...
10 votes
2 answers
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How were the control surfaces of the Space Shuttle designed to withstand the forces of reentry?

Perhaps the most critical part of the Shuttle's flight is the communications blackout phase of reentry, when atmospheric plasma is directly interacting with the vehicle's heat shield. As I understand ...
14 votes
1 answer
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Were any other Space Shuttles ever planned?

At one point in Carl Sagan's novel Contact (1985), set c. 1999, the main character hitches a ride into space on a space shuttle: The President clearly was in favor of her visit [to a private space ...
3 votes
1 answer
191 views

RS-25 Component weight

I need to determine the weight for specific components of the RS-25 Rocket engine. Namely the combustion chamber and nozzle separate from all other engine components? I must have found hundreds of ...
3 votes
2 answers
586 views

Fueling the RS-25 Turbo pumps?

Is there any way to know the weight of Fuel / Oxidizer consumed by just the turbo pumps of the RS-25 rocket engine?
6 votes
2 answers
405 views

Were shuttle and ISS spacewalks always done with two astronauts?

Even if only one astronaut is needed for an EVA, it makes sense to have a second suited up and outside in case of an emergency. Was there ever any exception to this number (e.g. 1 or 3) for the space ...
8 votes
1 answer
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How actually dangerous was RTLS for the Space Shuttle?

I know that the Space Shuttle's Return To Launch Site abort mode was always considered to be particularly risky, and as a result was never tested. In particular, it seems like it requires everything ...
2 votes
1 answer
904 views

Space Shuttle RTLS in 3-engine-out: what does it use for propulsion?

For a three-engine-out abort, there's a couple of great diagrams provided in the answer at In a shuttle launch, what would have happened if all three SSMEs failed during flight? showing different ...
18 votes
1 answer
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In a shuttle launch, what would have happened if all three SSMEs failed during flight?

I'm certain there are several flight regimes where this could happen, and that the procedures should be different for each one. For instance, this is a very different question before lift off than it ...
2 votes
0 answers
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STS: Why was there a two-minute delay between MECO and the LOX dump?

Organic Marble's answer to STS: How much thrust did the nominal post-MECO LOX dump produce? explains that the LOX dump was only started two minutes after MECO, while it was also desirable to finish ...
10 votes
1 answer
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STS: How much thrust did the nominal post-MECO LOX dump produce?

Following up to some questions asked in comments to the answer to this question: With pressure-fed engines, is any measurable thrust generated by venting the pressurant out the engine bell after ...
2 votes
1 answer
272 views

Why aren't more companies manufacturing the RS-25 (Space Shuttle Main Engine)?

The RS-25 is a great engine with a terrific ISP. It was used 42 years ago (on April 12th 1981) for the first Space Shuttle flight; therefore, the most of the patents on it must have expired long ago. ...
9 votes
2 answers
461 views

What happens after a crew finishes putting out a fire?

I was reading the question How do we use Fire Extinguishers to Control Fire in the Space Station? This got me thinking about how the crew would clean-up after a fire. How do they decide if the ...
13 votes
2 answers
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What is the problem with aborting a Space Shuttle launch?

In the question Why didn't the Space Shuttle have a launch escape system? there was discussion in the commentary about why the Space Shuttle could not safely abort through much of its envelope. ...
4 votes
1 answer
779 views

Space shuttle cabin atmosphere system

I see from looking at the space shuttle cabin air supply system that it provides O2 and N2 through a common manifold into a 14.7 psi regulator. What is not clear to me is where the cabin air goes, and ...
8 votes
2 answers
624 views

How much of the printed materials (manuals, instructions etc.) were allocated for the crew's use in Space Shuttles?

Whilst watching youtube video of an occasional Soyuz spacecraft launch (Soyuz ТМА-19М in this case), I've noticed (at 8:07) this large bundle of books. Another video of TMA-16M flight at 39:40 shows ...
10 votes
1 answer
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How would larger solid rocket boosters have improved the space shuttle's capabilities?

I was told that the new SLS that NASA is building is using the same SRBs that the space shuttle used just with one extra segment added. Five instead of the original four. If the shuttle had used these ...
5 votes
1 answer
331 views

When does the space shuttle stop its gravity turn?

I am trying to model the launch of the space shuttle (up to 120km of altitude) from Cape Canaveral, Florida. In order to do so I would need to know when the gravity turn part of the flight starts and ...
9 votes
1 answer
939 views

What are those yellow trussed structures on Hubble Space Telescope?

Search as I might, I couldn't find them labeled on any schematic or mentioned in any fact sheet. My guess is Shuttle bay interface/attachment, but I also could not corroborate it by searching ...
19 votes
1 answer
3k views

How did STS-27 survive reentry after losing a thermal tile?

My buddies and I have been arguing about this for a while, speculating about the upcoming Starship test. STS-27 suffered damage on ascent that knocked off a tile & damaged hundreds more. It only ...
33 votes
7 answers
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Why didn't NASA use the shuttle to make a profit?

My understanding is the shuttle was designed as cost-effective workhorse, a space-van to ferry cargo up to the ISS, conduct zero-G experiments and put satellites into orbit. So why didn't NASA take ...
22 votes
1 answer
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How were the Space Shuttle SRBs ignited? (with what?)

I'm unable to find how exactly the Space Shuttle's SRBs were ignited, or what exactly was used to ignite the rocket. I'm trying to figure out the best way to instantly ignite a solid rocket reliably,...
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the purpose of the aft skirt on the Space Shuttle and SLS Solid Rocket Boosters?

The Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) used by the Space Shuttle and SLS have a skirt near the bottom. What is it for? Is it only to support the stack?
9 votes
1 answer
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What are the movable-plastic-bag-looking things on the nose of Shuttle?

I was watching the last launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-132) and noticed some objects that moved during the launch. I was curious about what these objects were and why they were positioned that ...
0 votes
2 answers
181 views

Mobile Launcher Design

When looking at the Apollo and space shuttle mobile launch platforms side by side, I noticed that the exhaust ports look different and judging by the internal structure of the platform, it seems that ...
16 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
24 votes
6 answers
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Music played in space

Besides the Curiosity rovers's rendition of Happy Birthday and Chris Hadfields guitar playing aboard the ISS, is there a list of music played in space live (robots playing music counts too)? Note: ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there any compiler available for HAL/S?

The HAL/S programming language is used in the general purpose computers in the space shuttle. I have written a simple HAL/S program of my own. Is there any compiler available to turn it into ...
4 votes
2 answers
714 views

Space Ship capable of travelling from Earth to Moon and back

What would be required to have a vehicle like the space shuttle in that it could launch from earth and travel through space and was reusable except that it also possessed the capability to land on the ...
11 votes
1 answer
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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]
12 votes
1 answer
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Was there any truth that the Columbia Shuttle Disaster had a contribution from wrong angle of entry?

The principal of my tiny school in Japan was presenting to a student to suggest he make a speech on the Space Shuttle's reentry aspects. He included newspaper articles on the Columbia space disaster. ...
4 votes
4 answers
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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?
21 votes
4 answers
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If the Space Shuttle missed its landing approach, what could have been done?

As I understand it, the Space Shuttle was essentially a glider when it was coming back to land, and the engines were not there to facilitate powered flight. So what was the procedure, had the Space ...
53 votes
2 answers
8k views

Was there really a shuttle toilet training device with a "boresight camera"?

Was there really a shuttle toilet training device with a camera looking up at the user's fundament? This seems a bit undignified to say the least.
3 votes
0 answers
136 views

How much did the duralumin structure of the Shuttle weigh?

I am trying to understand the benefit of a Shuttle type "cold structure" Vs a Starship type structure. Google tells me that the Shuttle TPS weighed 8,574.4kg, and the duralumin has a 50-80% ...
4 votes
0 answers
148 views

How was the external tank emptied in a TAL shuttle abort?

One of the numerous reasons RTLS was the least preferred choice is For a safe separation, the ET must contain a maximum of 2% propellant remaining at Main Engine Cutoff (MECO). How would TAL do away ...
27 votes
2 answers
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How would the space shuttle have been retrieved following a TAL out of Vandenberg?

Had the space shuttle ever launched out of Vandenberg AFB, its primary transoceanic abort landing (TAL) site would have been Mataveri International Airport (SCIP) on Rapa Nui (Easter Island; Isla de ...
5 votes
1 answer
391 views

What outdated components of Columbia made it heavier than the other Space Shuttles?

Being the first space-rated orbiter produced, Space Shuttle Columbia was the heaviest and therefore rarely selected for high inclination trajectories like the ISS near the end of the program. Which ...
3 votes
1 answer
118 views

ROFI Temperature

Since hydrogen-fueled rockets usually require Radial Outward Firing Igniters (ROFI), what is the temperature of the sparks from this system? When seen at RS-25/RS-68 ignition, they don't melt but ...
4 votes
2 answers
367 views

Were the landing gear doors closed during the Approach and Landing Tests?

This photo from an answer on the Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests shows the front attachment between the Enterprise orbiter and the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft. The support strut reaches the ...
6 votes
1 answer
161 views

Space Shuttle Hammerhead Cranes Status

From the beginning of the the shuttle program up until the mid 1990's, both LC-39 launchpads had a hammerhead crane atop of the Fixed Service Structure which was leftover from the Apollo program. What ...
4 votes
1 answer
561 views

Which STS mission had the most accidents or failures?

This question was prompted by articles mentioning that a majority of Space Shuttle launches had scrubbed launches. Which STS mission had the largest amount of accidents and/or failures? If relevant, ...
22 votes
1 answer
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What was the most inconsequential failure on an STS mission recorded in mission reports?

Posting a comment over on this question got me thinking as to how insignificant (or not) recorded failures on the Space Shuttle could actually get. For example browsing the STS-001 Postflight Mission ...
12 votes
4 answers
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What is the difference between a space plane and a space shuttle?

What is the difference between a space plane and a space shuttle? It seems that they both look similar and also have a similar purpose. But what is the true difference?

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