84

In practical terms, it would be impossible. The Orbiters were designed in the late 1970s and built with the technology of that time. Late in the program there were many logistics nightmares as parts became impossible to find as manufacturers went away or stopped unprofitable lines. In essence, a near-total redesign would be required. Former flight ...


80

This image is very similar to the following image https://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/images/shuttle/sts-130/html/iss022e062672.html with the following description STS-130 Shuttle Mission Imagery ISS022-E-062672 (9 Feb. 2010) Though astronauts and cosmonauts often encounter striking scenes of Earth's limb, this very unique image, part of a ...


66

Skipping reentries aren't unheard of. The Apollo command module performed a single skip when returning from lunar missions. However, there are several reasons why a skipping reentry (especially one involving multiple skips) would be disadvantageous for the shuttle: As uhoh points out, a skipping reentry results in losing lateral speed at a very high ...


57

I think bounce back causes intermittent heating so heat shield tiles get a lot of time of radiate heat out. Your thinking is reasonable as far as it goes... But once you lose too much velocity and become deeply sub-orbital, you will sink like a rock into thicker atmosphere. Within five minutes you'll either be toast from heating or jelly from pulling 15-...


53

It's simply the spotlights illuminating the ship, and shining up the bore of the engines. Notice the shadows of the vertical stabilizer from the same source. When the shuttle landing direction is determined, URS Corp. air traffic controllers in the runway control tower will communicate with Bordeaux and his team on the ground. Then two of the ...


51

They're already made, have plenty of usable life left, were stored in a way that facilitates reuse, and apparently cost less than building and certifying brand new ones. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/proposed-station-water-system-looks-to-retired-shuttles In order to reduce the cost and complexity of the proposed system, NASA engineers looked at reusing ...


50

The Space Shuttle (or any complicated system for that matter) is not just composed of the hardware itself. It is a system composed of all the infrastructure needed to get it to work. The hardware needed to manufacture and quality check the specific components, the hundreds or thousands of scientists, engineers, technicians and mechanics with specific domain ...


49

That is the Rotating Service Structure. It can be rotated to fit over the Shuttle while it is on the pad, giving access to the Shuttle cargo bay. The empty space allows the RSS to fit over the launch platform. It's not floating, the leg on the left side of the photo is part of the RSS. This is a detail of the leg: You can see the cab and wheels used to ...


45

A reverse image search (once you tell Google you're looking for the space shuttle, not base jump) brings you to the picture on Getty Images, which states: Space shuttle above Earth's atmosphere, composite image (emphasis mine). So it's probably composed of one of the pictures linked to by OON and some other picture of the moon. Or that part could be ...


44

This is indeed part of the procedure that is invoked when a contingency has occurred. It is part of Standard Operation Procedure 2.8 - JSC Contingency Plan, which can be found in the Shuttle Flight Control Operations Handbook (link to 538-page pdf - referenced here) on page 2.8-1. It provides the steps to be taken to secure all data for future investigations ...


40

Those are covers on the RCS thrusters. They're on all the other thrusters too, to prevent rain etc. from getting into the thrusters. For most of the program, the covers were butcher paper. Towards the end, we switched to using Tyvek. The covers are designed to get blown off during launch. On the OMS pods, it's mostly done by the shockwave of the ...


40

The loading / unloading fixture was called the Mate / Demate Device. There were permanent ones at Kennedy Space Center and at Edwards Airforce Base (the nominal Orbiter landing sites). There was a third device, somewhat different in appearance, the Orbiter Lifting Fixture (OLF). This was used at at Palmdale (where the Orbiters were built) when they went ...


37

Although the Space Shuttle flight software was of outstanding quality, it's completely incorrect to think that there was only one bug. There were many known bugs in the flight software (FSW). Here are three I can think of off the top of my head that impacted missions. The flight campaign of the Shuttle program started out with an embarrassing software bug! ...


34

According to https://www.popularmechanics.com/space/rockets/a15777930/launching-to-space-at-a-crawl/ it is to reduce dust created as the crawler crushes some of the "Alabama River Rock". Photo showing the crushed rock behind the crawler. (Source - Organic Marble) Addendum: According to the documentary 'When We Were Apollo', the gravel was not part of the ...


28

By the early 1990s the Space Shuttle Program had experienced some close calls with the landing and braking system, especially the tires. Hard data was desired about the response of the tires to various off-nominal situations. To obtain this data, a surplus Convair 990 jetliner was converted into the Landing Systems Research Aircraft by adding an ...


25

That's the intertank - the cylinder that connected the bottom of the LO2 tank to the top of the LH2 tank. It didn't contain propellant, but did contain the forward interface with the Solid Rocket Boosters, and was built for lightness and strength, with skin-stringer construction. The ribs you see were the stringers. The intertank is a steel / aluminum ...


24

It was on the airplane, not the shuttle, see this NASA article: A crew escape tunnel was installed aboard NASA 747 aircraft number 905 (NASA 905) during the aircraft's modification process for the Shuttle program. The tunnel extended down three decks, from the flight deck to the bottom left side of the fuselage. In a catastrophic emergency, the ...


24

Addressing the "Are there pictures?" part of the question. From the Space Shuttle Orbiter Approach and Landing Test Final Evaluation Report


23

It depends on whether you're talking about the original Hubble configuration or its current configuration. First, Hubble does not have any thrusters, so it does not have propellant to unload (thrusters could throw particles around the telescope, affecting its view. Read more here) Originally, the Hubble was designed to be returned via space shuttle, ...


22

The biggest problem with trying to launch a shuttle today is that all of their engines (both used and spare) have been cannibalised for the SLS program and are currently undergoing upgrades and testing with relation to that. Whether or not this was a sensible thing to do (it wasn't), that alone means that there is no way a shuttle could launch today. There ...


22

This was revealed in 2015, in the book Into the Black, about STS-1. The hardcover edition of Into the Black had the overall basics of the imaging effort, although not specific details. ... His new version of the story in the paperback edition indicates that the imaging attempt had been planned starting over a year before the flight. That revised ...


22

Does he mean lock the doors in the NASA building, in order to begin some internal investigation, and nobody is allowed to leave, as a matter of policy? Yes, this. It's part of a standard procedure to ensure evidence is preserved for the investigation. It's to prevent people entering as well as leaving.


21

For the Orbiter aerosurfaces to move, hydraulic pressure must be supplied from the Orbiter's Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) (a poor name for these critical devices - the name came from the analogous devices in aircraft!). The APUs were not running for ferry flight, and control locks were installed to hold the elevons in a neutral position. For the ferry ...


19

For shuttle: The oxygen was dumped into a basin to boil off (red arrow) or released through the External Tank vent valve, through the "beanie cap", and out a pair of vent ducts that ran through the "beanie cap" access arm. The "beanie cap" and vent ducts. The hydrogen was burned off in flare stacks (green arrow). The connection from the External Tank was ...


19

Yes, several of the previous shuttle launches exhibited erosion and/or "blow-by" of the SRB O-rings, starting with the second flight, STS-2. Much has been written about the failure of NASA and Thiokol management to recognize the severity of the problem and respond appropriately. The Rogers Commission report covers a lot more than the O-ring problem, but is ...


19

I can answer the Shuttle part. The test in question was the Mated Vertical Ground Vibration Test (MVGVT). Here's how the stack looked in the test stand. Five configurations were tested Liftoff First stage (SRBs attached) early, mid, and late 2nd stage For the launch testing, the SRBs stood on hydrodynamic supports which "provided the vertical support ...


17

In general, umbilicals are provided from the launch pad to the vehicle for any services that need to be provided after the vehicle is installed on the launch mount, and to remove hazardous gases from the vicinity of the vehicle. Consider that vehicles can sit on the pad for long periods if problems occur during the countdown. Many different consumables may ...


17

The performance of Shuttle-Centaur greatly exceeded that of either the Atlas-Centaur or Titan-Centaur combination. Neither the Atlas nor Titan were able to put a fully fueled Centaur into Earth orbit using only their lower stages. The Centaur would have burned part of its propellant completing the orbital insertion. In contrast, the shuttle stack would ...


16

Here are two famous incidents that happened on landing. One was a test landing and software changes were made afterwards. The other was an early flight and the experience base was not very large. Pilot error / poor handling qualities / design of the ship? You can make up your own mind. The first is the "Enterprise PIO" (PIO standing for Pilot Induced ...


15

Falcon 9 reentry is only designed for first stages, with a reentry burn that is pretty minor - on the order of a few hundred meters/second. A second stage, reentering with far more velocity than a first stage, can't shed the extra velocity with a cheap burn, because the total delta-v necessary for that would be about as much as the second stage was capable ...


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