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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21
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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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Did any of the Space Shuttles land through rain or rainclouds?

My web research resulted in figuring out that launching Space Shuttles in rain, apart from lightning, wind and turbulence related problems, wasn't permitted due to: brittleness of the heat shield ...
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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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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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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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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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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 close was the U.S. DoD to getting their own space shuttle?

This answer explains that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) had plans for their own space shuttle. The so-called "blue shuttle" would be operated by the U.S. Air Force out of Vandenberg Air Force ...
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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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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 were the Space Shuttle missions named?

For example, why was the 19th Shuttle mission named STS-51F instead of something more obvious like STS-19? Side note: One reason I'm asking is because in the DVD commentary of Apollo 13, Tom Hanks or ...
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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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Position of shuttle viz iss

Is the shuttle ahead of the ISS in the orbit before docking. Does the international space station catchup with the shuttle in the same orbit?
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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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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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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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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 ...
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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 long did it take, at a minimum, to prep a shuttle for launch after it landed?

The Space Shuttle relied on a pair of SRBs, and fuel supplement in the External Tank for it's launch. Assuming Payload, Service parts/consumables, Crews, SRBs, and ET were ready - How long did it ...
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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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Space Shuttle “go at throttle up”

On all of the launch videos and recordings for the Space Shuttle, the mention is made from Houston (after getting through Max-Q) of "go at throttle up", indicating that the launch is ok for going back ...
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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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Is there such thing as plasma (from reentry) creating lift?

The following was claimed on the aviation site: In 1981, after years of development and testing, Columbia made its maiden voyage into orbit. Unexpectedly, on re-entry, the nose pitched up much higher ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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What is making the glow from this image of STS-135 going home, de-orbit burn or re-entry?

I found the image below in a NASA image gallery for 2014. There, the text only says: This unprecedented view of the space shuttle Atlantis, appearing like a bean sprout against clouds and city lights,...
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How many spacesuits were specifically manufactured for John Young?

John W. Young was a legendary astronaut: The first American in space after the original Mercury Seven, as Gus Grissom's co-pilot in Gemini 3. He got in trouble during this flight for smuggling ...
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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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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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What was the operational lifetime of a shuttle tile?

The statement "While some of the individual tiles on the shuttle might last 10 missions" from this excellent answer has led a questioner to make the statement "someone here at Space Stack-Exchange ...
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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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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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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 happens after a crew finishes putting out a fire?

I was reading the question How do we use Fire Extinguishers to Control Fire in the Space Station? This got me thinking about how the crew would clean-up after a fire. How do they decide if the ...
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What was the primary role of epoxy layer between metal structure and insulation foam on External Tank of Space Shuttle?

Whilst looking for information regarding Shuttle's External Tank insulation, I came across this answer to this question Structural composition of shuttle liquid fuel tank wall. The answer states that ...