Questions tagged [space-shuttle]

The Space Shuttle was a crewed, partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft operated by NASA from 1981 to 2011.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
20
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
20
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

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. ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Technology: How would a state-of-the-art space shuttle be built?

As the title states, if a space shuttle 2.0 were to be built with current technology, in which ways or areas might it be superior to the original space shuttle? Which components are most ripe for ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

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. ...
19
votes
1answer
348 views

What was NASA's Tire Assault Vehicle?

Why did NASA build a vehicle specifically designed to attack aircraft tires?
19
votes
1answer
2k views

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?
19
votes
1answer
3k views

What satellites did the Shuttle retrieve from orbit?

Hobbes wrote: The Shuttle was designed for things NASA rarely or never used: [...] The ability to retrieve satellites from orbit was used a few times, but not as often as envisioned. I wasn't ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
5k views

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 ...
18
votes
2answers
3k views

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 ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

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. ...
18
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
18
votes
1answer
57k views

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 ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

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 ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
17
votes
1answer
4k views

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,...
17
votes
1answer
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
1k views

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?
16
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
16
votes
3answers
5k views

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: ...
16
votes
4answers
7k views

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 ...
16
votes
2answers
4k views

Space shuttle exhaust after landing

In this video at 7:12 you can see a thermal shot of a landed space shuttle. There is a periodic white cloud coming out of the top. What is this cloud?
16
votes
4answers
2k views

What's inside NASA N911 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA 747)?

The Wikipedia article mentions that NASA's Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA 747) have the upstairs first class seating, and the rest of the plane was stripped bare. It doesn't mention ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
16
votes
7answers
3k views

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 ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

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 ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

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 - ...
16
votes
1answer
732 views

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 ...
16
votes
1answer
3k views

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 ...
15
votes
4answers
3k views

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, ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

Why did the Space Shuttles perform a rollover maneuver during launch?

I want to understand the reasons why the shuttle did the rollover manoeuvre after launch. I would think better to do it earlier after launch while the air flow pressure is low. Why not just adjust ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Why is this astronaut placing a radar reflector?

In this video we can see an astronaut on the payload bay of the Space Shuttle, placing what looks like a radar reflector, during an EVA. The following image is a frame from the video in question: ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

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, ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

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-...
15
votes
1answer
533 views

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error?

Did anyone piloting a Space Shuttle ever make a significant pilot error? (I've never heard of any, and I'm curious if that is due to their extensive training, or if it's just that that sort of ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Are the US shuttle and Buran the only space planes to have launched vertically with wings exposed?

The Space Shuttle and the Soviet/Russian Buran have launched vertically, and their wings were exposed to the full load of aerodynamic forces during the launch. Stability may come from many factors, ...
15
votes
2answers
4k views

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 ...
15
votes
2answers
732 views

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 ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

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?
14
votes
2answers
5k views

Is it possible for the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Boosters (SRB) to hit the Space Shuttle after jettison?

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. ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
14
votes
1answer
842 views

Why did the SSMEs gimbal during ignition?

During Shuttle ignition sequence: the engines always slightly gimbal closer together as they reach full combustion (I'm guessing, from the plume appearance). Why?

1
2
3 4 5
8