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
31
votes
7answers
13k views

How could a 90 m/s delta-v be enough to commit the space shuttle to landing?

Wikipedia claims (although with no citation) that in order to make the space shuttle land, an initial powered delta-v of 322 km/h was applied in orbit, retrograde to the shuttle's orbit. 322 km/h is ...
52
votes
2answers
45k views

What is the purpose of the jets of water often under rocket engines during launch?

I have watched several STS launches, and noticed that there were always huge jets of water that would begin right before the rocket engines lit. They were right under the rocket, mounted to the pad. ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

Which STS mission raised the normal engine throttle above 100%, and what change to the SSME made that possible?

As indirectly stated in an answer to How long does Max-Q last?, during later Space Shuttle launches the main engines were operating at above 100% of their nominal maximum thrust. Specifically from ...
32
votes
7answers
11k views

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 ...
23
votes
1answer
4k views

What satellites did the Shuttle retrieve from orbit?

Hobbes wrote: The Shuttle was designed for things NASA rarely or never used: [...] The ability to retrieve satellites from orbit was used a few times, but not as often as envisioned. I wasn't ...
17
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, ...
26
votes
2answers
10k views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
332 views

Were there any STS missions that included maneuvers that might have photographed ISS's top side?

It looks like this answer is converging on a conclusive answer about a zenith-facing window on the ISS, and possibly also a window which might at least be able to offer a bit of a view of the zenith. ...
44
votes
3answers
27k views

Would it have been possible to have sent the Space Shuttle around the Moon?

I'm curious about whether or not the Space Shuttle could have been used as a lunar orbit vehicle - basically, would have it been technically capable of getting to the Moon, entering orbit, then ...
32
votes
6answers
8k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Did all of the Space Shuttles dock with multiple space stations or crewed spacecraft?

For example, the Space Shuttle Endeavour did dock with both MIR (bringing apple seeds) and the ISS. Did all of the shuttles dock with more than one space station and/or crewed spacecraft? above: ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How are rockets gimballed to produce a gravity turn for the space shuttle?

I'm trying to simulate a gravity turn using a gimbaled thruster. I'm using the dynamical system described in a previous post of mine to execute a gravity turn by changing the angle $\phi_T$ between ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What would the Δv cost of bringing the space shuttle external tank to orbit be?

There was an independent proposal that the space shuttle external tank could have been lifted all the way to orbit, and then used as a structural material in space stations. In terms of propellant ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

What holds the Space Shuttle orbiter itself stable on the launch pad?

From a structural point of view, what is holding up the orbiter on the launch pad prior to a launch? Are the tail service masts more than just a collection of conduits and plumbing? Or, are the solid ...
27
votes
7answers
69k views

Did the space shuttle fly straight "up" when leaving Earth?

I was watching space shuttle launch recently, and at 2:53 you can see the space shuttle from an angle, even though it's high above the earth and you should see only the bottom. Did the space shuttle ...
22
votes
1answer
4k views

How often, if ever, was "software" updated in the shuttle orbiter?

It dawned on me that the tragic STS-107 disaster of (my favorite shuttle) Columbia was after more than 20 years of service. Computers in 1981 were of course significantly inferior to what I had in my ...
16
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"?
16
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it possible for the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) to hit the Space Shuttle after jettison?

We all know that the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) were the pair of large solid rockets used by the United States' NASA Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of its powered flight. ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

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. ...
29
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, ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did the Space Shuttles perform a rollover maneuver during launch?

I want to understand the reasons why the shuttle did the rollover manoeuvre after launch. I would think better to do it earlier after launch while the air flow pressure is low. Why not just adjust ...
12
votes
1answer
939 views

How was the Space Shuttle Orbiter used for ISS Reboost?

According to this answer, for the question How often does ISS require re-boosting to higher orbit?, During Space Shuttle years, small re-boosts were also performed by the Shuttle Orbiters (...
10
votes
2answers
892 views

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 ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Structural composition of shuttle liquid fuel tank wall

Somewhere I read the shuttle fuel tank kept structural integrity only thanks to internal pressure of the fuel, a'la inflated balloon; empty it would collapse under own weight; and the walls were ...
8
votes
1answer
563 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
707 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. ...
4
votes
2answers
301 views

How did three 1.2 meter spheres and a Xe+ plasma contactor keep the Shuttle "grounded"? What did they look like?

Statement of relevance This answer to Highest DC voltage ever intentionally produced in space? mentions particle beam experiments done from the Space Shuttle while it flew through Earth's atmosphere ...
0
votes
1answer
717 views

How is max Q for the shuttle actually defined?

In this article about max Q https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Q the shuttle launch is discussed. Since there are four distinct large objects - two boosters, one shuttle and one giant tank - there ...
31
votes
1answer
3k views

Why do the Shuttle's external tanks appear to be rusted?

Wikipedia article states as STS-1 at liftoff. The External Tank was painted white for the first two Space Shuttle launches. From STS-3 on, it was left unpainted. I wonder why the ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

When was the ISS's "SPEED LIMIT 17500 MPH" sign originally posted?

When was the ISS's "SPEED LIMIT 17500 MPH" sign originally posted? above: "STS110-353-012 (8-19 April 2002) --- Astronaut Ellen Ochoa, STS-110 mission specialist, poses by the speed limit signs in ...
6
votes
1answer
892 views

Apollo/Shuttle launch site fuel handling

I read somewhere that fuel was delivered to the Apollo launch site by tanker truck (for cryogenic propellants) and rail cars (for the kerosene). Were the fuels transferred directly from delivery ...
6
votes
1answer
938 views

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 ...
39
votes
3answers
58k views

What made NASA shut down the Shuttle program?

Recently NASA shut down its Space Shuttle program. Between the first launch on April 12, 1981, and the final landing on July 21, 2011, NASA's space shuttle fleet --Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, ...
39
votes
4answers
15k 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 ...
22
votes
6answers
4k views

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: ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Why was the Shuttle's LOX tank on top of the LH2 tank, since that makes it more top-heavy?

The external tank for the shuttle contained tanks of liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen for the main engines to use. These two have similar (though not equal) volumes, but the Oxygen is heavier in an obvious ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How can phenolic (resin?) handle rocket engine nozzle temperatures?

I just saw @OrganicMarble's survey answer that bravely tackles the wide variety of technologies used to make different types of rocket nozzles. One item caught my eye: Nozzles may also be made of ...
15
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 ...
8
votes
2answers
618 views

How fast can the space shuttle change its attitude in space?

How long does it take to the space shuttle to change its orientation while operating out of the Earth's atmosphere, either by turning or rolling? I.e. what is the average/maximum rotation speed? What ...
6
votes
2answers
841 views

Shear forces between Shuttle, tank, and boosters - what pushes what?

This is the question that I should have asked here. The space shuttle and the two solid rocket boosters (SRBs) are mechanically attached to the giant tank. SRB's, shuttle, and tank all experience ...
2
votes
1answer
280 views

When were Shuttle crew absolutely required to have their seat belts fastened and their tray tables in their full upright position?

@OrganicMarble's comment says: Rhea Seddon describes in her bio standing and walking around in the shuttle middeck in the early part of entry when g's were low. "...I had this funny sensation of ...
26
votes
11answers
9k views

Could the Space Shuttle have landed on any long runway other than those specially reinforced at Kennedy (TTS), and Edwards (EDW)?

Wikipedia writes to say Buran was the first space shuttle to perform an unmanned flight, including landing in fully automatic mode. ... The same article writes further The automated landing ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Why was Space Shuttle Atlantis selected for Mir docking so frequently?

In this answer @RussellBorogove discussed the frequency of dockings of each space shuttle with the Mir space station. I've summarized those frequencies, total number of missions flown, and year of ...
6
votes
1answer
220 views

Why did the Ulysses probe reach Jupiter much faster than Galileo?

Both Ulysses and Galileo were launched by the Space Shuttle and the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). Yet Ulysses only took 16 months to reach Jupiter, while Galileo took 6 years. Is it because Galileo ...
5
votes
2answers
793 views

"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-...
99
votes
3answers
24k views

Is this "Attach Orbiter Here / Note: Black Side Down" sign on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft real?

I found this image online, but is it a real message?
50
votes
3answers
6k 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....
51
votes
2answers
20k views

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 ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

Technology: How would a state-of-the-art space shuttle be built?

As the title states, if a space shuttle 2.0 were to be built with current technology, in which ways or areas might it be superior to the original space shuttle? Which components are most ripe for ...

1
2 3 4 5