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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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17
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3k views

If the space shuttle computers all output contradictory commands, how is it chosen?

The space shuttle computers use triple-redundancy, and if one computer contradicted the other two, it would be ignored. I read that if all three gave contradictory output, one computer would be ...
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How were the pilots of the space shuttle able to operate the rudder after time in space?

I've just watched this video showing three astronauts who've returned from space. At around the 5:46 mark in the video we can see astronaut Chris Hadfield being carried out of the Soyuz capsule. I've ...
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What would have happened if only one Space Shuttle SRB ignited?

The ignite command for the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) would not be issued unless all three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) were at least 90% of thrust. The launch would have been aborted if one or ...
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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 ...
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743 views

Any imagery from Shuttle Columbia's SILTS pod on the internet?

(Inspired by this question) One of the distinguishing features of Shuttle Columbia was its Shuttle Infrared Leeside Temperature Sensing (SILTS) pod. This was an experiment that took infrared imagery ...
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Why didn't the space shuttle SRBs have wings and tires?

Why didn't the space shuttle solid rocket boosters have wings and tires to land the same way the orbiter lands? I don't think they haven't thought of that so there must be something that led them not ...
13
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561 views

How many people have returned to Earth in a different type of vehicle than the one that launched them into space?

Recently we had the 15 year anniversary of Expedition 1 of the ISS. That particular crew launched in a Soyuz (TM-31) and returned on a Space Shuttle (Discovery, STS-102), which I found a remarkable ...
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954 views

What exactly is the orange insulation foam used on many different launch vehicle stages?

What exactly is that orange/rust coloured insulation foam on the Space Shuttle external tank, the H-IIA/B, Delta-IV, and so many other launch vehicles? I remember finding the name of it in a NASA ...
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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 ...
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How does the freon compressor work at 0 gravity?

As far as I researched the Freon compressor to cool air has to stay up right not to leak oil into the system? So how does one work in space? What do they use to cool of the air?
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How did the Space Shuttle keep its cryogenic fuel cold?

As I understand it, the Space Shuttle used cryogenic fuel in its main engines and it kept a supply onboard for the duration of its mission for a deorbit burn. Since Space Shuttle missions often lasted ...
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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, ...
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How was the Space Shuttles rollover maneuver achieved?

Was the roll made using the SSME gimbal control? I would imagine the SRB does not have this capability. Is there any use of flight control surfaces as well?
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Why does the Falcon 9 require a helium pressurization system?

The Space Shuttle was designed in the seventies and did not require a helium pressurization system. Why does the Falcon 9 require one? What are the advantages/disadvantages?
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Were the aerodynamic control surfaces of the Space Shuttle used during ascent?

The Space Shuttle had several aerodynamic control surfaces to control it during reentry and the final phase of atmospheric flight to landing. It seems a waste to haul tons of control surface to orbit ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Where and when did the traditional “wave across the ditch” take place?

I’ve heard that before a launch American astronauts had one last chance to see their family by waving across a ditch (which apparently wasn’t really a ditch?). I’m curious, where and exactly when (day ...
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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 ...
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Why is the shuttle's external tank's metal skin painted the same dark color as the foam insulation?

The last flight-qualified space shuttle external tank in existence is now in Los Angeles and moved to its new home over the weekend. I noticed that what appears to be the metal skin under the ...
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3answers
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How was the Centaur stage fueled in the Space Shuttle?

The Space Shuttle had the ability to launch Centaur booster stages stored inside of the Shuttle during launch. How was this stage fueled, being fueled with cryogenic fuels?
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How much of the Shuttle was physically realized in the simulator?

How much of the Shuttle physically existed in the simulator? Was it just the flight deck? Or were the mid-deck, lower equipment bay, and/or payload bay also included?
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Source for Shuttle SRB segment history diagrams

I'm looking for a source for these ATK booster segment history images. Sadly absent user TildalWave posted a comment with a link to an article containing this one 3 1/2 years ago. I've finally ...
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What is the limit for asymmetrical design for a launch vehicle?

Looking at Soyuz 11A511 type rocket (the one used for launch Soyuz T-M-and A-M models) you can notice that the payload fairing brake flaps are displaced from the ideal axis (they are not aligned with ...
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What is the maximum number of OMS burns executed during a single Shuttle mission?

The recent questions about restarting rocket engines in space made me wonder about this. Every mission used the OMS a couple of times at least but rendezvous missions increased the usage. The record ...
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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. ...
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Could Dick Scobee have flown a RTLS on Challenger 51L

In a previous question, I explored whether or not, with a call up from an observant Flight Controller, the SRB’s could be separated from the STS-51L stack before the destruction of the ET tank at 73 ...
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How do fully-suited astronauts enter the Space Shuttle and sit down in 1 g vertical vs horizontal?

This answer has astronauts entering a vertically oriented Space Shuttle for a Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test (TCDT) while this answer has them entering the shuttle when it is oriented ...
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Space Shuttle OMS maneuvers

I'm writing an essay titled the Physics of a Shuttle Mission, which is broken down into the journey into orbit, orbital maneuvering and re-entry. The biggest problem at the moment is with example ...
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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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1answer
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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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Why did Columbia never visit the ISS? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia, there were sixteen Space Shuttle missions to the ISS before the loss of Columbia; of these, six each were by Endeavour and Atlantis, four by Discovery, and none at all by ...
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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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
276 views

Failure modes of segmented solid rocket boosters

The Rogers Commission Report (PDF, page 73) describes the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters as [...] a faulty design unacceptably sensitive to a number of factors. These factors were the ...
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1answer
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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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2answers
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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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1answer
118 views

Please explain the time reference shown in shuttle launch engineering video

Many shuttle launch engineering videos show an apparent time reference to the right of the frame as red numbers counting up rapidly. For example, from the amazing video "Ascent". Assuming this is ...
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1answer
252 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 ...
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What does the Shuttle's axial forces analysis reveal?

The post "Shear forces between Shuttle, tank, and boosters - what pushes what?" was linked as related to a recent question of mine. I wanted to try and answer it with data but ended up with more ...
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1answer
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What is the purpose of this cable connecting Astronaut's boot restraint to a robotic arm?

The caption for the image ISS016-E-008937 says ISS016-E-008937 (3 Nov. 2007) --- While anchored to a foot restraint on the end of the Orbiter Boom Sensor System (OBSS), astronaut Scott Parazynski, ...
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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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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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Before their disastrous demise, how many missions did Challenger and Columbia fly?

I always grew up thinking that both of those shuttles only flew in one mission and never made it back home. Now, I found evidence that that's not the case.