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Space Shuttle  
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1981
Total Production: 5
Origin: United States of America
Corporations: Boeing
Parent System: Space Shuttle
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 1981
Total Production: 5
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Description: The NASA Space Shuttle is the world's first reusable spacecraft designed to carry large satellites both to and from the orbit. It launches like a rocket, maneuvers in Earth orbit like a spacecraft and lands like an airplane. The Space Shuttle was developed in the 1970s and entered into service in 1981 carrying payloads into orbit. Each spacecraft comprises an expendable external fuel tank for the orbiter's main engines, two reusable solid rocket boosters which provide liftoff during the first two minutes and the orbiter which houses the crew and the payload. Five spacecrafts were produced until 1991 with each orbiter designed to fly at least 100 missions.

The first orbiter, Challenger, was delivered in 1979 to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and was lost in February 2003 during re-entry. The Challenger was delivered in 1982 and was destroyed in an explosion during ascent in January 1986. Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour were delivered in 1983, 1985 and 1991 respectively. The Endeavour was built as a replacement for the doomed Challenger. The Enterprise was an early Shuttle orbiter that never flew into space and was used for landing tests at the Dryden Flight Research Center and several launch pad studies in the late 1970s.

The Space Shuttle was designed for a crew of up to eight-man but the orbiter can be piloted by a two-man crew. Average missions require a crew of five to seven persons for five to 16 days at orbits ranging from about 185 kilometers to 643 kilometers high. During the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s the Space Shuttle design suffered thousands of major and minor modifications making it safer, more reliable and more capable. The engine and system improvements that are estimated to have tripled the safety of flying the Space Shuttle. The number of problems experienced while a Space Shuttle is in flight has decreased by 70 percent.

Amid safety and reliability concerns and after the lost of two spacecrafts and rising launch and operating costs, NASA has scheduled the Space Shuttle program for termination by 2011. The Orion crew exploration vehicle and Ares space launch systems are expected to replace the Space Shuttle carrying astronauts into orbit by 2015. More realistic estimates suggest that an effective replacement would be available at a later date in the 2020-2025 timeframe.

Space Shuttle Specifications

Crew: 8
Service Life Flights: 100
Height: 57 foot (684 inch)
Length: 122 foot (37,186 millimeter)
Wingspan: 78 foot
Orbit: 400 mile (644 kilometer)
Top Speed: 17,321 mph (23.3 mach)
Mission Endurance: 17.5 day (0.05 year)
Max Takeoff Weight: 4,500,000 pound (2,041,200 kilogram)
CEP: Circular Error Probable
Meters (m)   Kilometers (km)   Nautic Miles (nm)   Inch (in)   Yard (yd)   Foot (ft)   Millimeter (mm)
Pound (lb)   Kilogram (kg)   kN (KiloNewton)   Ton (t)
Meters per Second (mps)   Kilometers per Hour (kph)   Knot (kt)   Miles per Hour (mph)
Liter (l)   Galon (gl)
Year (yr)   Minutes (min)   Second (sec)
Shaft-Horse-Power (shp)

Space Shuttle News

There are 9 news between
22 Oct 2008 and 15 Oct 2016
Saturday, October 15, 2016US to Buy Additional RD-180 and RD-181 Russian Space Rocket Engines
Thursday, August 20, 2015Russia to Develop MRKS-1 Reusable Space Launch System
Wednesday, September 14, 2011NASA Announces Design for SLS Deep Space Exploration System
Friday, July 8, 2011NASA Space Shuttle Lifts Off for Last Time
Monday, April 18, 2011Boeing Selected for 2nd Round of NASA Commercial Crew Development
Friday, April 16, 2010X-37B Unmanned Spacecraft Set to Launch
Wednesday, October 28, 2009NASA Successfully Completes First Ares I-X Flight Test
Tuesday, October 20, 2009Roll Out of Ares I-X Space Launch System
Wednesday, October 22, 2008PlanetSpace Adds Boeing to Lockheed Martin/ATK Team for NASA ISS Commercial Resupply Services Bid

Operators & Related Equipment

United States of America5
Jul 20110
Nov 20083

Grand Total 51
Propulsion Systems
Solid Rocket Boosterx2
Space Shuttle Main Enginex3

Space Shuttle Ship Listing

SerialNameStatusLaunch DateCommissionDecommission
Columbia-Mar 19791 Feb 2003
Challenger-Jul 1982Jan 1986
Discovery-Nov 19832011
Atlantis-Apr 1985Jul 2011
Endeavour-May 19912011

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