Author Topic: Space Transportation System Overview  (Read 1120 times)

Online catdlr

  • Member
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4079
  • Marina del Rey, California, USA
  • Liked: 1121
  • Likes Given: 638
Space Transportation System Overview
« on: 10/30/2016 07:32 PM »
Space Transportation System Overview: "Space Shuttle" 1976 NASA
Jeff Quitney

Published on Oct 30, 2016
Space Shuttle Systems, Overviews & Highlights Films playlist:

more at

An overall look at the Space Shuttle and its components, comparing them with the Saturn V and other earlier launch vehicles.

The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable launch system and orbital spacecraft operated by the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for human spaceflight missions. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons. The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981 leading to operational flights beginning in 1982. It was used on a total of 135 missions from 1981 to 2011 all launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida.

Major missions included launching numerous satellites, interplanetary probes, Hubble Space Telescope (HST), conducting space science experiments, and constructing and servicing the International Space Station. Major components included the orbiters, recoverable boosters, external tanks, payloads, and supporting infrastructure. Five space-worthy orbiters were built; two were destroyed in accidents.

The Space Shuttle at launch consisted of the Orbiter Vehicle (OV), one external tank (ET), and two Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs). It was launched vertically like a conventional rocket with thrust from the two SRBs and three main engines. During launch, the external tank provided fuel for the orbiter's main engines. The SRBs and ET were jettisoned before the orbiter reached orbit. At the conclusion of the orbiter's space mission, it fired its thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enter the lower atmosphere. The orbiter decelerated in the atmosphere before flying like a glider but with reaction control system thrusters before landing on a long runway...

The first of four orbital test flights occurred in 1981 leading to operational flights beginning in 1982, all launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The system was retired from service in 2011 after 135 missions; on July 8, 2011, with Space Shuttle Atlantis performing that 135th launch - the final launch of the three-decade Shuttle program. The program ended after Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011. Major missions included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science experiments, and servicing and construction of space stations. Enterprise was a prototype orbiter used for atmospheric testing during development in the 1970s, and lacked engines and heat shield. Five space-worthy orbiters were built—two were destroyed in accidents and the others have been retired.

It was used for orbital space missions by NASA, the U.S. Department of Defense, the European Space Agency, Japan, and Germany. The United States funded Space Transportation System (STS) development and Shuttle operations except for Spacelab D1 and D2 — sponsored by West Germany and reunified Germany respectively. In addition, SL-J was partially funded by Japan.

At launch, it consisted of the "stack", including a dark orange-colored external tank (ET); two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs); and the Orbiter Vehicle (OV), which contained the crew and payload...

The Shuttle stack launched vertically like a conventional rocket. It lifted off under the power of its two SRBs and three main engines, which were fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen from the external tank. The Space Shuttle had a two-stage ascent. The SRBs provided additional thrust during liftoff and first-stage flight. About two minutes after liftoff, explosive bolts were fired, releasing the SRBs, which then parachuted into the ocean, to be retrieved by ships for refurbishment and reuse. The Shuttle orbiter and external tank continued to ascend on an increasingly horizontal flight path under power from its main engines. Upon reaching 17,500 mph (7.8 km/s), necessary for low Earth orbit, the main engines were shut down. The external tank was then jettisoned to burn up in the atmosphere. After jettisoning the external tank, the orbital maneuvering system (OMS) engines were used to adjust the orbit...

Tony De La Rosa