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Shuttle

Background Information
First Launch:
April 1981
Flight Rate:
Eight per year (nine per year demonstrated)
Launch Site:
LF-39 A/B (Kennedy Space Center, USA)
Capability:
53,500 lb to LEO; 13,000 lb to GTO (with IUS)

History

  • Feasibility and engineering studies began in 1970
  • First free flight in 1977 (Enterprise)
  • First development flight in April 1981 (Columbia)
  • First operational flight in November 1982 (Columbia)

Description

  • Two-stage vehicle
  • Carries two to seven crew members (eight person crew flew once)
  • Four Rockwell-built orbiters
  • Three Rocketdyne SSMEs burn LH2/LO2, generating 375,000 lb of thrust each
  • Two Thiokol solid rocket boosters (SRBs), generating 2,600,000 lb of thrust each
  • Lockheed Martin external tank (ET) contains propellants for SSMEs

Profile

Lengths:
Orbiter - 122.2 ft
Launch Weight:
4,500,000 lb
ET - 154 ft
Liftoff Thrust:
6,325,000 lb
SRB - 149 ft
Diameters:
ET - 27.5 ft
Payload Bay:
60 ft x 15 ft
SRB - 12 ft
Wingspan:
78.1 ft

Other Resources


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