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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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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Do windows in space stations, the space shuttle, other spacecraft have practical usage?

As we know, cars need a front window because drivers need to see the road to control the car, but how about the windows in space shuttles? As far as I know, the orbits of ISS or other space devices ...
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What was the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft escape tunnel?

The Wikipedia article for the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft mentions an escape tunnel: The avionics and engines were also upgraded, and an escape tunnel system similar to that used on Boeing's first 747 ...
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Was the Space Shuttle always crewed?

Maybe this question sounds snaive to some educated people, but I'm not clear if the Space Shuttle could and was ever used without a crew. And what was the smallest and the biggest crew size it ever ...
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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: ...
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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 ...
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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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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 were the Top 10 Shuttle Risks in John Young's “famous letter”?

Whilst reading A Technical History of the External Tank I ran across this comment: Although the problem has not recurred, John Young, in his famous top ten Shuttle risk letter ...
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What was NASA's Tire Assault Vehicle?

Why did NASA build a vehicle specifically designed to attack aircraft tires?
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How was “Space Ram” (instant ramen noodles) prepared and eaten on the Space Shuttle?

The BBC Witness Podcast The Invention of Instant Noodles mentions that "Space Ram" (ramen noodles for space) was developed for eating on the Space Shuttle. After about ...
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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 is the mid-deck on the Space Shuttle named as it is?

The (retired) NASA Space Shuttles has two decks. The flight deck, and the mid-deck. Why is the mid-deck called "mid-deck"? It is not the middle of three decks. Shouldn't it, strictly ...
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Was the space shuttle design negatively influenced by science fiction?

The space shuttle looked like space ships in Star Trek and a lot of other science fiction movies/TV. Did people's expectation of what a space vehicle should look like, based on futuristic movies/tv ...
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How well would Max Faget's April 1, 1969 design for the Space Shuttle have actually worked? What would have been the major problems?

This answer to Who are the actual lead designers of manned spacecraft? says (in its entirety): Max Faget was involved in the design of every US manned spacecraft flown to date. Mercury, Gemini, ...
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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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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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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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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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Is the technology behind the Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles used in any product today?

Many NASA inventions have had subsequent lives in the commercial marketplace. Have the Space Shuttle's heat-shielding tiles also had a second life?
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Why is unappetizing food brought along to space?

I read at some point about a Shuttle mission that ended up lasting longer than initially intended, and the crew had to eat more awful-tasting food for the last few days, because they had eaten through ...
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How does the Saturn V Dynamic Test Stand work?

This photo instantly provokes a ton of questions in me: It shows the Dynamic Test Stand at Marshall SFC with the Enterprise, which was a Space Shuttle test vehicle, suspended for vibration testing. ...
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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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Did any of the Space Shuttle RCS covers ever stay on?

This dashcam video of the STS-133 launch shows some sort of plastic bag looking objects that blow off the nose of the shuttle in the first few seconds after liftoff. This answer says they are the RCS ...
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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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How 'space ready' was space shuttle prototype Enterprise?

I have long believed that Enterprise was just an empty craft, with only the instruments to operate in shorts flights in the atmosphere. Basically a large glider with odd wings. However, I have been ...
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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 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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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 if a Space Shuttle entered the atmosphere of Venus?

How would a U.S. Space Shuttle's atmospheric entry on Venus differ from reentry on Earth? Say there's a Space Shuttle in a low Venus orbit performing a (re-)entry burn. How would the following ...
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Are Armageddon's simultaneous shuttle launches feasible?

In Armageddon, two space shuttles launch from adjacent pads mere seconds after one another. This seems highly implausible for several reasons: Pressure, heat, vibration and debris from the first ...
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Do the solid rocket boosters of the Shuttle and SLS have a self-destruct system and was it activated during the Challenger disaster?

Videos of the Challenger shuttle explosion show both solid boosters speeding on after the main tank detonated. Were they eventually self-destructed by the ground control, or why not, and why not ...
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What preparations would Hubble have needed to return in a Shuttle?

This answer states that the Hubble Space Telescope was originally intended to be returned to Earth in a Shuttle. (from shuttle manifest published immediately before the Columbia failure, showing the ...
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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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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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After the loss of Challenger, why weren’t Galileo and Ulysses launched by Centaurs on expendable boosters?

The Centaur upper stage, the first hydrolox rocket stage ever flown and (in its highly-evolved forms) still one of the most-used, as well as one of the highest-performance (if not the highest-...
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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 ...
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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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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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Before the Columbia accident, were there shuttle manifests/plans for after ISS assembly complete?

Before the loss of Columbia during the STS-107 mission on February 1 2003, the International Space Station was scheduled to reach "Core Complete" status in February 2004. (Although this was ...
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Why do many comets & asteroids keep moving through the solar system, but space ships need fuel to do so?

Why do many comets & asteroids keep moving through the solar system (for centuries), after they were dislodged from their parent bodies after a cosmic event/explosion? But a space-shuttle ...
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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, ...
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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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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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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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I am looking for information on the power connector used on the Space Shuttle to power a GridCase 1530 laptop

I have done continuity tests on the 3 pins. 1 is obviously ( from the continuity tests ) a ground pin. 1 is switched by the power switch. 1 has resistance and seems to change impedance when the power ...
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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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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 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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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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