| Shuttle Reference
The Shuttle Reference Manual,
most recently revised in 1988, is an in depth technical guide to space
shuttle equipment and operations. It was accurate in 1988 and while
most of the information provided here from the manual is still accurate
today, some facts may be outdated.
index of the Manual is also available.
- The overall shuttle program
is called the Space Transportation System.
Manufacturing and Assembly
- Orbiter structures were
manufactured at various companies under contract to Rockwell International's
Space Transportation Systems Division, Downey, Calif.
Improvements and Modifications
- Many of the changes and
upgrades in the space shuttle systems and components were under way
before the 51-L accident as part of NASA's continual improvement and
upgrade program. However, NASA has taken advantage of the space shuttle
program downtime since the accident to accelerate the testing and
integration of these improvements and upgrades as well as fixes required
as a result of the accident.
- Two solid rocket boosters
provide the main thrust to lift the space shuttle off the pad. They
are the largest solid-propellant motors ever flown, the first designed
- The largest element of the
shuttle vehicle is the external tank, which supplies fuel and oxidizer
to the space shuttle main engines during launch.
Shuttle Coordinate System
- The space shuttle coordinate
reference system is a means of locating specific points on the shuttle.
- The orbiter structure is
divided into several major sections and is constructed mostly of aluminum.
Passive Control System
- A passive thermal control
system helps maintain the temperature of the orbiter spacecraft, systems
and components within their temperature limits.
Purge, Vent and Drain System
- The purge, vent and drain
system on the orbiter is designed to prevent accumulation of hazardous
gasses and vent compartments.
Flight Crew Escape Systems
- Provided for use only when
the orbiter would be in controlled gliding flight and unable to reach
- The space shuttle provides
a shirtsleeve environment for its crew during orbital flight.
Shuttle Orbiter Systems
- Orbiter systems provide
multiple redundancy for safe and effective operation.
- Chronological summary of
mission phases from T minus 20 minutes through wheelstop.