NASA Space Shuttle at Workby Howard Allaway
The Space Shuttle is a reuseable human spaceflight vehicle capable of reaching low Earth orbit. The vehicle consisted of a spaceplane for orbit and re-entry, fueled by an expendable liquid
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Intended for a younger audience, ‘NASA Space Shuttle at Work’ is an introduction to the capabilities and potential of a low earth orbit delivery system.
The Space Shuttle is a reuseable human spaceflight vehicle capable of reaching low Earth orbit. The vehicle consisted of a spaceplane for orbit and re-entry, fueled by an expendable liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen tank, with reusable strap-on solid booster rockets. Major missions included launching numerous satellites and interplanetary probes, conducting space science experiments, and servicing and construction of space stations.
At launch, it consisted of the "stack", including a dark orange-colored external tank; two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters; and the Orbiter Vehicle, 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. The Shuttle orbiter and external tank continued to ascend on an increasingly horizontal flight path under power from its main engines.
The orbiter carried people and payloads such as satellites or space station parts into low Earth orbit, the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Usually, five to seven crew members rode in the orbiter.
When the orbiter's space mission was complete, it fired its OMS thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enter the lower atmosphere. During descent, the orbiter passed through different layers of the atmosphere and decelerated from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking. In the lower atmosphere and landing phase, it was more like a glider but with reaction control system (RCS) thrusters and fly-by wire-controlled hydraulically-actuated flight surfaces controlling its descent. It landed on a long runway as a spaceplane. The aerodynamic shape was a compromise between the demands of radically different speeds and air pressures during re-entry, hypersonic flight, and subsonic atmospheric flight.
76 pages, color photos and illustration. Hyperlinked contents for easy navigation.
Table of Contents
1. A Week's Work
2. The Uses of Space
3. More, Better, Cheaper
4. What Shaped the Design
5. From Earth to Orbit
6. The Amazing Orbiter
7. At Work Aloft
8. Airlines to Space
9. Plans, Possibilities, and Dreams
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