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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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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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 ...
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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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Challenger Shuttle: could the crew have survived?

Some sources point out that the shuttle cabin stayed intact following the solid rocket booster explosion, and that in fact, it is likely the crew died upon the cabin impact into the ocean. The space ...
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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?
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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 ...
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Why was the Space Shuttle Orbiter's in-orbit time limited?

I remember reading/watching that the Shuttle had a limited time to stay in orbit. And that's why Soyuzes were the only Assured Crew Return Vehicles (ACRV) for the International Space Station until ...
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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 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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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?
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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 ...
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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: ...
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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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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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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, ...
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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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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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How often do other space vehicles visit the international space station?

I was surprised to read NASA's statement that This (27 May 2020) mission marks the first time since the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011 that humans will fly to the space station from U.S. ...
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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. ...
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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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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 the U.S. Space Shuttles have a way for crew to bail out?

This recent question regarding the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster mentions the possibility that the crew could have bailed out if the orbiter could have successfully descended to 25,000 feet before ...
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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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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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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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What was “inertial” about the Inertial Upper Stage?

The Inertial Upper Stage was a rocket upper stage that could boost payloads launched on the Space Shuttle or Titan rockets to higher orbits or to interplanetary missions. What was inertial about this ...
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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 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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Which was louder, SRBs or SSMEs?

The space shuttle's SRBs each produced ~2x the thrust of the three main engines. Which source produced the majority of the sound volume at liftoff?
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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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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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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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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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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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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 did the space shuttle's altitude go down after reaching 108,000m?

I recently took a look at this little data sheet by NASA: Math and Science @ Work; Space Shuttle Ascent Time Altitude Velocity Acceleration Comment (s) (m) (m/s) (m/s^2) 20 1244 139 18.62 40 5377 ...
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Why were two different California airbases (Vandenberg and Edwards) intended for Shuttle launches versus landings?

Vandenberg Air Force Base was intended to be the west-coast launch site of the Space Shuttle. Its Space Launch Complex 6 was only a few months from being ready for the first launch, when the ...
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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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Was the possibility of damage to the SS Columbia made public before it reentered on Feb 1, 2003?

When I reflect upon the unfortunate circumstance of STS-107 in 2003, I seem to have memories of hearing reports of the foam striking the underside of the vehicle before we even learned of the reentry ...
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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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How long did it take to remove or install an SSME on the Space Shuttle?

Not knowing the steps involved, I am curious how long it took to remove or install an SSME (Space Shuttle Main Engine) in real life.
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Where are the lost RS-25D Block 2 engines?

There were 21 RS-25D Block 2 engines made. Two of them never flew. Three of them were lost with the Columbia disaster. 16 of them are tagged for SLS's use, including 14 previously flown, and the two ...
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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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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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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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