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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446 views

Ground personnel proximity to space shuttle at launch?

In watching some YouTube videos of US Space Shuttle launches, I was wondering how close personnel were to the actual launch pad during a launch that weren't actually on the Shuttle itself? Obviously ...
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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 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 ...
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Is there any reason why American spacesuits color changed over years?

From Mercury silver suits to orange Space Shuttle ones, color of space suits have changed over years. Is there any reason for it?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Would the life support systems on the ISS and STS work well also in 1g?

Changing gravity level can be a problem for flows of fluids, gasses, heat and for structural loads. Much equipment designed for Earth gravity fail in microgravity (even light bulbs and ballpoint pens)....
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Have SRBs or SSMEs ever launched without a space shuttle?

It seems to me that the April 12, 1981 launch of Columbia (STS-1) was the manned spaceflight with the most untested hardware of any manned space launch. Even the Vostok and Mercury launch systems had ...
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What's the thickness and weight of rocket tanks?

I found it quite fascinating that the Shuttle External Tank was as thin as 2.5mm. That seems very thin for a structure over 40 meters tall and weighing as much as 760 000kg fueled. I'm curious how ...
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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 ...
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How was Enterprise held/released from the carrier 747 for the Shuttle approach and landing tests?

Related to my other question: What are the benefits of using pyrotechnics on spacecraft? When the Space Shuttle was first flight tested (Enterprise approach and landing tests) it was released from a ...
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Might either the Buran or the Space Shuttle fly again, or similar spacecraft be built in the future?

I'm really impressed with these two spaceplanes, so I'm thinking is there any chance to fly again, or some similar spaceplanes (similar design, size...) to be built?
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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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Did Feynman cite a fallacy about only circles having the same width in all directions as a reason for the Challenger disaster?

In a Math Overflow post about mathematical fallacies it was stated that: Richard Feynman regarded the mistake that a "circle is the only figure which has the same width in all directions" as one ...
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Did the Challenger SRBs fail due to design for reuse?

All that I know about the Challenger tragedy was that some o-rings failed in the reusable solid rocket boosters (SRBs) due to the low temperatures that day. I'm curious if such an accident would have ...
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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 ...
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During the Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster of 2003, Why Did The Flight Director Say, “Lock the doors.”?

Why does the NASA Flight Director say, "Lock the doors.", when realizing that disaster had struck for Space Shuttle Columbia, back in 2003? Does he mean lock the doors on the space shuttle that's ...
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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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Cost-effective Space Shuttle: was it feasible?

As far as I understand, NASA's Space Shuttle was initially conceived as a cheap way of launching people and cargo into orbit, with one-week vehicle turnaround time and dozens of missions per year. ...
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Can I drink the water from the plumes of SSME?

Shuttle's SSME uses cryogenic Hydrogen(LHX) and Oxygen(LOX) as their propellent to give hot water vapour. If I somehow manage to get the exhaust plume and condense it to liquid, Can I drink it ...
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What are the small gas jets at the rims of the Space Shuttle Main Engines?

As can be seen in close-up footage of SSME ignition, such as the video below, there are small jets of an unknown gas/vapor emanating from specific points around the ...
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Was the third shuttle engine any different from the others?

The space shuttle used three SSME, organized in a triangle with two next to each other closest to the external tank, and one on top of those. I am pretty sure the first two engines were close to ...
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Why didn't the SRBs of the Space Shuttle use carbon instead of aluminium?

In the Solid Rocket Boosters of the Space Shuttle, the following reaction happened: $\mathrm{NH_4ClO_4 + Al \rightarrow H_2O + N_2 + Al_2O_3 + AlCl_3}$ Using carbon instead aluminium, we would have ...
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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,...
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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 ...
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Why did NASA close the space shuttle program? [duplicate]

The era of the space shuttle program was one of the highlights in the history of space exploration. Why did NASA decide to retire the space shuttles, or why aren't they planning to start a new program ...
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Was a method available to save the Challenger Crew?

In a previous thread, I asked the question of the likelihood of the STS stack surviving an early separation of the SRB using the SRB manual separation switch on panel C3: Could the SRB's have ...
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Why did the Space Shuttle fly upside-down normally

After reading this answer I found out that the space shuttle normally spent its time upside-down. Why is that? I'd guess it has to do with shielding from the sun, but I can't back that up with ...
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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 ...
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Why were Space Shuttle astronauts able to walk off the orbiter?

I am watching loads of ISS related videos and there is one detail I recently noticed; At the time, when Space Shuttles were still in operation and visiting ISS, when astronauts returned home, they ...
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How much fuel was used for a Space Shuttle launch?

Many of us have watched the launch of a Space Shuttle space ship, I think: a giant red rocket, some smaller, and the way smaller space ship on the red one. It reaches Mach 23 to be able to leave ...
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Were the Space Shuttle's Main Engines ever off while the Solid Rocket Boosters were firing?

I always though the Space Shuttle needed a combination of its solid rocket boosters and its main engines to remain stable while launching. The following diagram found on Wikipedia seems to agree: ...
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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 ...
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What was the first time a “re-used booster” was used to put a payload into orbit?

In the excitement about SpaceX's Falcon recovery and relaunch development program, it's often forgotten in articles like this one that reusable spacecraft were in regular use far back in the 20th ...
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Why were four Space Shuttle orbiters initially built?

Since only one Space Shuttle orbiter was ever in space at a time, it seems logical that only two would be needed: one for the mission and the other as a backup for an emergency rescue. Perhaps a third ...
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How was the space shuttle fuelled?

How was the external fuel tank filled with LH2 and LOX while the shuttle was on the launch pad? I know there was a gaseous oxygen umbilical on the top of the ET and a gaseous hydrogen umbilical about ...
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Would the Space Shuttle have met the current NASA manned flight standards?

If NASA were to apply the safety standards it is using on the CCtCAP program (Dragon V2 and CST-100 now chosen) would the Space Shuttle have met those standards? I suppose it helps if we are clear on ...
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Could the space shuttle be permanently left in orbit as a space station?

Could the space shuttles have been left in space and used as temporarily visited space stations? One could put a modified spacehab in the cargo bay, with solar panels and with which the Soyuz/Dragon ...
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Documented economics of STS Solid Rocket Booster reuse?

I often see the claim that the Shuttle SRBs cost as much to recover & refurb as it would to build a new one. I've probably even parroted this claim myself. But, are there any actual studies or ...
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How long could the shuttle remain docked to ISS and still capable of landing?

Soyuz remains docked to ISS for months at a time, then returns the crew to Earth. The longest the shuttle has stayed in orbit on any single mission is 17.5 days on mission STS-80 in November 1996 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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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Did the Shuttle have a drag penalty for ascent with a negative angle of attack (AOA)?

@OrganicMarble's answer mentions Because the Orbiter wings developed lift at zero angle of attack, the high dynamic pressure portion of ascent had to be flown at a negative angle of attack, close ...
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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 ...
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Could the SRB's have separated successfully at 70 seconds into flight

The shuttle had a switch on panel C3 which allowed the crew to trigger a manual separation of the SRB. This switch had to have a purpose when moved from Auto to manual mode. What would have ...
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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 were jet engines not used in place of the solid fuel in the STS SRBs?

Considering that there is plenty of oxygen in the air at the altitudes that the SRBs flew to (<50 KM), why did the STS SRBs use solid propellant. Specifically, why use a system that must carry its ...