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Space Shuttle Orbiter Systems

A verbose index is available for this section.

Thermal Protection System
Various materials applied to the outer structure protect the orbiter from excessive heat.

Main Propulsion System
Along with SRBs, provides velocity increment necessary to reach orbit.

Orbiter/External Tank Separation System
Includes system components on both sides of the separation.

Orbital Maneuvering System
The orbital maneuvering system provides the thrust for orbit insertion, circularization, orbit transfer, rendezvous, and deorbit.

Reaction Control System
The RCS units provide the thrust for pitch, yaw and roll maneuvers and for small velocity changes along the orbiter axis.

Electrical Power System
EPS subsystems work together to provide electrical power to the vehicle during all mission phases.

Environmental Control and Life Support System
ECLSS systems interact to provide a habitable environment for the flight crew and cooling or heating for various orbiter systems and components.

Auxiliary Power Units
The orbiter has three APUs, hydrazine-fueled, turbine driven power units produce pressure for the vehicle's hydraulic systems.

Water Spray Boilers
The water spray boiler system consists of three identical independent water spray boilers, one per corresponding auxiliary power unit and hydraulic system.

Hydraulic System
The hydraulic system consists of three independent systems, each providing mechanical shaft power to drive a hydraulic pump.

Landing Gear System
Each landing gear includes a shock strut with two wheel and tire assemblies.

Caution and Warning System
Designed to provide the crew with both visual and aural cues when a system exceeds predefined operating limits.

Ground-based, orbiter and satellite systems are employed to keep the crew in touch with Mission Control.

Avionics Systems
Controls, or assists in controlling, most of the shuttle systems.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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