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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“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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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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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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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 ...
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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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How many times were there thirteen people inside the ISS? Is it hard on the station?

I just saw this photo in @SF.'s answer It is ISS023-E-023513 STS-131 and Expedition 23. The full caption is below. Are there really 13 people on the ISS at one time? Is STS-131 the only shuttle ...
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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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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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How hard would it be to fly a Space Shuttle again?

Since in the wake of the failure of Soyuz MS-10, "humanity is effectively trapped on Earth" (this of course ignores Chinese launchers), one might try to fly one of the remaining Space Shuttle orbiters ...
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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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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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Could the shuttle wait out the whole burn of SRBs on launchpad in case of a problem on launch?

Somewhere on this site I read that in NASA, the rocket leaves the launchpad (through release of explosive bolts) only after the engines have attained full power. Assuming in the scarce seconds ...
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Was computer aided design used on the Space Shuttle Program?

With the Space Shuttle system being as complex as it was I was wondering the following; did the initial engineering teams in the 70's use any form of CAD/CAE or did they simply utilize the same ...
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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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Why don't the Space Shuttle's tires explode in the vacuum of space?

According to this NASA article the tires are inflated to 340 psi (main gear) and 300 psi (nose gear). At landing, there is significant strain, but what about in space? Are the tires exposed to vacuum ...
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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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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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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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Why is the Shuttle Landing Facility runway surrounded by water?

The runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida has a unique feature that looks rather intentional: it is surrounded by "moats" or "canals". They certainly look man-made, so I presume this is ...
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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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What are these Space Shuttle cockpit elements and what are they for?

In a book I'm reading, there is a figure showing the inside of a cockpit of a Space Shuttle.The labels point out various pets including an aluminum plate, an avionics bay, and an open grid panel, as ...
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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 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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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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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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Fluid loading protocol, what's it and what's it for

In the book Endurance: A year in space, a lifetime discovery, there is a paragraph as follows: Then I hear Terry’s voice, breaking in midsentence, as if he were here with me: “. . . pills for the ...
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What effect (if any) would leaving the cargo bay doors open have had during a shuttle reentry?

The cargo bay doors of the Space Shuttle were used on-orbit as radiators for thermal control. The cargo bay doors were closed before the reentry burn and descent to the surface, but could there have ...
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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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When astronauts or cosmonauts get seated in the spacecraft, are they actually sitting up or lying down?

This might be more of a physics question. If it is, I'll post it in the physics site. If the spacecraft is vertical, wouldn't the astronauts be seated in a lying position so that the G forces do not ...
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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 ...
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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 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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Why can't SpaceX Starship perform the same landing procedure as the Falcon 9 does?

I know... Elon Musk calls the redesign of the BFR "unintuitive". I'm just trying to get ahead of the Starship introduction and hop test presumably in March/April timeline. But isn't it better to use ...
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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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How much does a cordless screwdriver for space cost?

I wonder how much a cordless space screwdriver costs and what its mass would be? I guess it would be a lithium-ion screwdriver, like on Earth, but would it have other specifications? Does anybody ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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What was the last US manned space program?

I needed some info for a project. I tried some Google search but couldn't find an answer. US decommissioned it's space shuttle in 2011. Columbia disaster was in Feb 1, 2003. We're there any manned ...
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Challenging the Kármán line from above

The initial conditions of the thought experiment is (very) LEO / reentry. capsules, space shuttle and other spacecraft can generate lift in upper atmosphere during reentry, in order to reduce ...
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What was the design and/or results of the fish experiement onboard Space Shuttle Columbia disaster mission STS-107?

Highlights from NASA's webpage lists studies done during the Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107 including student experiments, one of them including fish. What did the student fish experiment ...
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Space shuttle need

Astronauts travel in space in command modules using rockets, which also carry payloads. The payloads are delivered in the relevant orbit, and the command module returns to earth, after the rocket ...