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
15
votes
7answers
3k views

Space Shuttle range safety system - Why is there a caution light?

Why did the Space Shuttle have an indicator to alert the crew to the arming of the range safety destruct system? Quoting from here: The first message, called arm, allows the onboard logic to enable ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

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-...
11
votes
1answer
302 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
121 views

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 ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

What are “Ohms burns” in the context of Scott Kelly, KSP, and the Space Shuttle?

The Ars Technica video Astronaut Scott Kelly teaches orbital mechanics with Kerbal Space Program (also in YouTube) is a little bit humorous. When Scott Kelley is talking about orbit circularization ...
8
votes
1answer
469 views

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? ...
7
votes
1answer
104 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
98 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Why won't the SLS boosters be recovered?

The SLS will be using five segment boosters derived from the four segment ones used during the STS program. Almost all of the STS boosters were recovered and reused, however NASA doesn't plan to ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
23
votes
1answer
4k views

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. ...
5
votes
2answers
629 views

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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

For a typical Shuttle mission, how much solid fuel is leftover at SRB separation?

If I understand correctly, solid booster rockets never expend literally all their fuel before jetissoning, because the burn rate slows way down in the end and it would take too long to spend it all, ...
12
votes
3answers
4k 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
2answers
232 views

Could the Space Shuttle orbiter have used the Energia HLLV (used by Buran)?

I would like to know if the Space Shuttle orbiters would have been capable of utilizing the Energia Heavy Lift Launch Vehicle (HLLV) used by the Buran instead of the External tank/SRB configuration. ...
0
votes
1answer
116 views

explosive force equivalent

i've seen 1 link that would direct me to a site that gave an equivalent of what would happen if a SATURN 5 let go on the pad, but not the Shuttle, was wondering what the force equivalent would be if ...
3
votes
0answers
76 views

Trajectory impact in case of STS hold down studs failure

The comment on this question made me think, suppose all holding studs mounted on SRBs do get failed, how much impact would it really result in trajectory, considering same fuel burn time of SRBs. ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
200 views

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, ...
14
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
7k views

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?
26
votes
6answers
5k views

Did the Space Shuttle have “military uses”?

In an interview with Oleg Kotov, a Russian cosmonaut, he makes an ambiguous statement on the military uses of the Space Shuttle: New Scientist: After the cold war, why didn't Russia maintain its ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
170 views

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. ...
7
votes
1answer
789 views

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. ...
37
votes
4answers
11k views

Why didn't the Space Shuttle have a launch escape system?

Since the very beginning of space exploration, rockets had some sort of Launch Escape System (LES). From this Wikipedia article, we know that Mercury and Apollo had an escape tower, while Vostok and ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

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 ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What's inside NASA N911 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA 747)?

The Wikipedia article mentions that NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA 747) have the upstairs first class seating, and the rest of the plane was stripped bare. It doesn't mention ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
8
votes
1answer
270 views

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-...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
88 views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
154 views

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 ...
54
votes
1answer
6k views

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 ...
9
votes
1answer
320 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, ...
8
votes
0answers
108 views

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 ...
20
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
216 views

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 ...
6
votes
0answers
89 views

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-...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

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,...
2
votes
0answers
66 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
364 views

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 ...
7
votes
2answers
3k views

Is the Falcon Heavy as loud as the Space Shuttle or Saturn V?

Is the Falcon Heavy Rocket as loud as the older Saturn V and Space Shuttles? I have read that Saturn V and the Space Shuttle were within a few decibels of each other. The newer Shuttle was slightly ...
10
votes
1answer
391 views

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. ...
6
votes
2answers
213 views

SSME propellant duct routing

The low pressure propellant ducts in SSME are routed around the engine in a somewhat complicated way. Both fuel and oxidizer lines leave the low-pressure turbopump, go around, down and then turn back ...
4
votes
1answer
208 views

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?