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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Did the Shuttle's rudder or elevons operate when flown on its carrier 747?

While being ferried on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, were the shuttle orbiter's control surfaces (rudder and elevons) adjusted by controls in the SCA, to assist maneuvers? (They were, after all, fly-...
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Radar Altimeter in Space Shuttle

I was going throught the Space Shuttle Handbook, chapter Guidance and Navigation. In one of the Note boxes, it is written Radar altimeter altitude is not used for navigation or guidance. The ...
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Why so many STS-61's?

Wikipedia's STS-61 says that it is not to be confused with STS-61A, STS-61B or STS-61C. Why were there so many STS missions where the name included the number "61"?
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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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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 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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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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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 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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Was the Space Shuttle ever rotated to induce artificial gravity?

The Space Shuttle was a fairly compact transportation vehicle in terms of the amount of space available for astronauts to move around. Did they ever attempt to roll a Space Shuttle to induce ...
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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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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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Why did a shuttle astronaut have an open book during ascent?

In the top right of the video of a shuttle launch an astronaut has an open book resting on (attached to?) the left thigh. What was the purpose of this book? The astronaut then seems to take a pen or ...
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How was the space shuttle fuelled?

How was the external fuel tank filled with LH2 and LOX while the shuttle was on the launch pad? I know there was a gaseous oxygen umbilical on the top of the ET and a gaseous hydrogen umbilical about ...
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How many Solid Rocket Boosters were there in the Space Shuttle program?

I was reading the wikipedia article about the SRBs, which were retrieved, refurbished, updated and re-used. I understand that if they were taken apart and pieces were replaced, that there was a 'new ...
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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 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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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 does the Falcon Heavy Rocket have a higher payload than the Space Shuttle?

The Falcon 9 heavy rocket has a thrust of about 5,340,000 pounds (23700 kN) with a LEO payload of 140,660 pounds (65.7 t). The Space Shuttle, on the other hand, had a thrust of 6,780,000 pounds (30000 ...
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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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How far would the STS get without the SRBs

This is a very stupid hypothetical - sorry! Would the Space Shuttle Orbiter plus external tank have been able to leave the pad just using the SSMEs (i.e. without the solid rocket boosters ~80% of its ...
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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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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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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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What (if anything) could have caused all three shuttle main engines to stop at the same time?

From my previous question, you'd have a bad time if it happened. What could cause it to happen, if anything? My parameters are: The engines must STOP, but not destroy the vehicle simply by having ...
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Features seen on the Space Shuttle's solid booster; what does “LOADED” mean exactly?

The question Please explain the time reference shown in Shuttle launch engineering video links to the very cool video Ascent - Commemorating Shuttle. After about ...
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What exactly is the purpose of connection links strapped between the rocket and the launch pad

I am curious on what are those multiple connection cables latched between the rocket and launch pad. What exactly is the purpose of it, I am aware that one should be for filling up the fuel. But ...
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How did the Space Shuttle maintain thrust/weight balance

As a seasoned KSP player, I am aware of how important it is during ascent to have center of thrust and center of mass perfectly aligned. If you don't, your rocket will deviate from its course and ...
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Was a method available to save the Challenger Crew?

In a previous thread, I asked the question of the likelihood of the STS stack surviving an early separation of the SRB using the SRB manual separation switch on panel C3: Could the SRB's have ...
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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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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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How was the Space Shuttle Orbiter used for ISS Reboost?

According to this answer, for the question How often does ISS require re-boosting to higher orbit?, During Space Shuttle years, small re-boosts were also performed by the Shuttle Orbiters (...
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Was there any period of time when other U.S. launchers were abandoned in favor of the Shuttle?

The comments to this recent question disagree on whether the U.S. briefly abandoned other launch systems in favor of the Space Shuttle. The Shuttle was designed to be capable of bringing all U.S. ...
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Purpose of hemisphere under shuttle nose cone (Enterprise)

I noticed a small hemisphere protruding from the dorsal side of the Enterprise space shuttle's nose cone, forward of the front landing gear. I have no clue what its purpose is but am far from an ...
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What were the hammerhead cranes used for?

During Apollo, the three Launch Umbilical Towers had a hammerhead crane at the top: Until 1994, the Space Shuttle's Fixed Service Structures were topped by literally the same cranes. The linked ...
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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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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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Why did NASA close the space shuttle program? [duplicate]

The era of the space shuttle program was one of the highlights in the history of space exploration. Why did NASA decide to retire the space shuttles, or why aren't they planning to start a new program ...
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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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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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Did the Shuttle payload bay have illumination?

Were there lights inside the Shuttle cargo bay, either to provide illumination when the doors were closed or to better illuminate cargo when the doors were opened? Slightly related: Have optical zoom ...
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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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What, if any, abort options would the crew of Columbia had on reentry during STS-107, assuming they became aware of the damage during that phase? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia, the earliest time at which there was a known issue with Columbia's reentry was at 08:53:46, when "Various people on the ground saw signs of debris being shed". Approximately 7 ...
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How much reentry speed did the Shuttles shed by doing a series of sharp turns?

Jerard Puckett mentioned in The Pod Bay yesterday that Shuttles did S-Curve maneuvers back and forth across their reentry trajectory to shed speed. After a bit of looking, I found some reference to ...
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Did all of the Space Shuttles dock with multiple space stations or crewed spacecraft?

For example, the Space Shuttle Endeavour did dock with both MIR (bringing apple seeds) and the ISS. Did all of the shuttles dock with more than one space station and/or crewed spacecraft? above: ...
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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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Communication Blackout

All the atmospheric entry missions endure a communication blackout. What parameters except plasma penetration frequency affect the blackout time and how ? Also, Comm Blackout states that space ...
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How was the airlock installed on the Space Shuttle mid deck?

I just finished the Haynes manual on the Space Shuttle, and it mentions that on some missions, an airlock was carried on the mid-deck area. I'm more familiar with the airlock carried in the payload ...
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What are the technical specifications of modern reaction control systems?

I am working on a realistic space flight simulator as a hobby, but I am finding it difficult to find technical information about modern reaction control systems (RCS) like those used on the space ...
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Can a crew access room (white room) be contaminated by rocket propellant residues during launch?

Observing a Space Shuttle launch, I noticed that the crew access gantry and its white room are too close to the SRB's flames during launch; the launch umbilical tower and its crew access device on ...

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