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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How could aerodynamic forces break up the Challenger orbiter?

Wikipedia's explanation of the sequence of events: The O-ring failure caused a breach in the SRB joint it sealed, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to reach the ...
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If the Space Shuttle missed its landing approach, what could have been done?

As I understand it, the Space Shuttle was essentially a glider when it was coming back to land, and the engines were not there to facilitate powered flight. So what was the procedure, had the Space ...
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What would have happened if Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters didn't separate?

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. ...
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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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Shuttle-C: Did we make the right move?

Shuttle, and its cousin Shuttle-C, are now history as the launch pads have been converted for use by other systems. Claims made for the Shuttle-C were that it would have taken 4 years and cost $6 ...
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What was the design and/or results of the fish experiement onboard Space Shuttle Columbia disaster mission STS-107?

Highlights from NASA's webpage lists studies done during the Space Shuttle Columbia mission STS-107 including student experiments, one of them including fish. What did the student fish experiment ...
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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 ...
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Did some of the Shuttle fuel tanks actually orbit?

In Buzz Aldrin's book Encounter with Tiber, he mentions that some of the Space Shuttle's fuel tanks actually made it to orbit. Did this actually happen, and if so, for how long did they stay in orbit, ...
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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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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 ...
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How fair is the claim that Shuttle boosters diameter is dictated by the railroad gauge?

There's a kind of urban legend that Space Shuttle boosters diameter could be larger only if was not limited because of the limitations imposed by the railroads and those are imposed by the railroad ...
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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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Do NASA currently (early 2014) have any development projects for a better space ship?

Is NASA developing a new generation os human transportation ship, or are they doing any kind of research and/or development which final aim is to invent a new space ship model? If I know well, NASA ...
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Were Space Shuttle External Tanks recoverable and reusable?

During the launch of STS vehicle, the two stage 0 Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) were jettisoned and recovered after they gently parachuted into the ocean: But what happened with the STS External Tanks ...
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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 ...
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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 two openings above the Shuttle's cockpit?

In this image of Discovery, two openings above the main windows are visible: What are they used for? Sightseeing?
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Why did NASA discontinue use of the MMU?

One of the comments on this recent question touched on the use of the Manned Maneuvering Unit. It seemed like a good idea at the time: a system that would allow astronauts to do EVA without being ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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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What were Prince Sultan's duties in STS-51-G?

Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Saud was the first (and so far only) Saudi astronaut, and was included in the crew of STS-51-G as a payload specialist representing Arabsat. Does that mean his role was ...
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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 ...
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About how far was debris scattered from the Columbia incident?

Space Shuttle Columbia exploded during reentry due to missing heat shield tiles. When this happened, the shuttle would have had a great amount of speed, which would imply debris was strewn far down ...
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Were any changes made to the composition of the Shuttle's thermal protection tiles over the lifetime of the program?

One of the main components of the Space Shuttle's thermal protection system for reentry was the layer of tiles on the outside of the orbiter. What, if any, changes were made to the composition of ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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What were the differences between Space Shuttle's and Buran's reentry guidance?

Assuming unpowered flight, what were the significant differences between the STS orbiter and the Buran in: re-entry trajectory? re-entry guidance? navigation during re-entry (inputs and algorithms - ...
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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 ...
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What range of orbital elements was available for the Space Shuttle?

What range of orbital elements (inclination, apogee, eccenticity) was available for the space shuttle? What range has it really achieved? What were the engineered limits?
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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, ...
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In a cryogenic fuel rocket, at what pressure is the fuel injected into the engine?

The pressure in the Space Shuttle's main engines must be very high to get the vehicle off the ground (with the SRB assist, of course). With such high pressures inside the engine, how do you inject ...
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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 ...
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What was the space-worthiness determination procedure for STS-1?

I am specifically interested in on-ground tests that were conducted after the full shuttle was pieced together (orbiter, tank, engine, boosters) for the first time (before STS-1). Of course the ...
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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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Why is the Shuttle Landing Facility runway surrounded by water?

The runway at the Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida has a unique feature that looks rather intentional: it is surrounded by "moats" or "canals". They certainly look man-made, so I presume this is ...

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