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NASA Shuttle Home - Press Releases - NASA-TV - TV schedule
NASA Human Space Flight: Space Shuttle has detailed information about all Space Shuttle flights, including info about the crews, their cargos, scheduled EVA's, and mission timelines. From NASA HQ. See also the NASA Human Spaceflight SiteMap to help find the info you're looking for.
NASA Shuttle Reference resources include Space Shuttle FAQs, and the excellent 1988 Space Shuttle Reference Manual, which has a very nice Shuttle Mission Events Summary.
Space Shuttle Orbiter ReferencesThe Shuttle Operational Data Book page links to 54 .pdf files of engineering drawings detailing the Shuttle Orbiter structure.
Shuttle Reference Manual: Orbiter Structure
Orbiter cutaway diagram, a 2253x1033 .jpg
Shuttle Ref. Man.: Main Propulsion (SSMEs)
Shuttle Payload Documentation
Space Shuttle External Tank ReferencesNASA-KSC External Tank News Reference
NASA-MSFC Shuttle ET illustrations include a large External Tank cutaway diagram, a 5530x2060 .jpg
External Tank Overview 4.96MB .mov video
Shuttle Missions Info is information on previous and upcoming NASA missions, from the Kennedy Space Center.
NASA Shuttle Mission Archives have concise but complete descriptions of each of the 100+ Space Shuttle missions thus far, from STS-1, launched on April 12, 1981, right up to the present.
The NASA History Office has countless pages of history information and images to view, accessible from this subject listing page, or keyword searchable.
NASA History: The Flight of STS-1
KSC Shuttle Mission Archive
Yahoo! Full Coverage: Space Shuttle
Space.com Return to Flight news archive
Google Usenet Newsgroups
sci.space.shuttle - sci.space.news - sci.space
gov.us.fed.nasa.ksc.announce - gov.us.fed.nasa.announce
NASA Subdomains Search & Links page links to dozens of the numerous NASA subdomains, and includes two search engines, NASA advanced search and a customized version of Google, both of which you can use to search the NASA subdomains independently by copying the subdomain name (using ctrl-c) and pasting it (using ctrl-v) into the appropriate place on the forms (which are at the bottom of the page).
Space Shuttle Search: The DMOZ Open Directory searches for keywords in website titles and descriptions (not page content). You can limit your search to the Space Shuttle links category, or search all science links.
See also: SciTech Gifts, STS-107 Columbia,|
Space Station, NASA, Space, Mars, & Planets
Space Shuttle News
The Space Store
is a leading retailer of space T-shirts, apparel, and gifts, including NASA t-shirts, space station gear, astronaut flight suits, mission patches and caps, and more.|
|Orbiter is a freeware Space Shuttle (and other spacecraft) flight simulator. Launch the Shuttle to deploy a satellite or rendezvous with the ISS. "The emphasis is firmly on realism, and the learning curve can be steep." Free plugins allow Orbiter to simulate Mercury & Gemini missions & more. Orbiter is totally free, though author Martin Schweiger will accept donations. screenshots|
In the Spring and Summer of 2003, the cause of the breach in the leading edge of the Space Shuttle Columbia's wing on the STS-107 mission was attributed to the impact of foam insulation from the shuttle's external tank on the wing. On the basis of video that showed a chunk of insulation apparently impacting the wing, plus calculations indicating that ET insulation could have been the cause of the hole in the leading edge of the wing, the board flatly declared that ET insulation was the cause of the Columbia breakup.|
The CAIB's conclusions led to redesign of the Space Shuttle External Tank, to avoid foam insulation breaking off during flight. The redesign and its implementation took almost 2 years.
(Dec 11-21 2006) STS-116 Discovery to ISS: press kit, 6.7 MB .pdf - fact sheet - KSC photos - launch blog|
(Sep 9, 2006) The Space Shuttle Atlantis was successfully launched on Mission STS-115 on Saturday at 11:14:55am EDT. A faulty coolant pump on one of the vehicle's three electricity-generating fuel cells had delayed the launch. The Atlantis landed safely at KSC on Thursday, Sep 21, concluding the 11 day mission. postlanding press conf. transcript
STS-115: press kit, 3.2 MB .pdf - fact sheet, 122 KB .pdf - photo gallery - launch blog
(Jul 17, 2006) Space Shuttle Discovery landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, July 17, at 9:14 AM EDT, ending the STS-121 mission. Discovery was launched on Tuesday, July 4 at 2:38 PM EDT, and flew to the International Space Station, where the crew tested new equipment and procedures to increase the safety of space shuttles. They also delivered supplies & cargo to the ISS, and performed maintenance on the station.
The mission is being considered as a complete success, with "minimal" loss of foam insulation from the external tank during launch. Loss of foam coating the ET was blamed for the STS-107 Columbia breakup in 2003. "Normal" shuttle operations are now expected to resume--but the 3 shuttles are still scheduled to be retired by 2010.
STS-121 press kit, 6MB .pdf - Return to Flight
(Oct 16, 2005 revised Dec 2 & Dec 11) NASA has released a "Tiger Team" report on preventing External Tank (ET) foam loss, and the next Space Shuttle mission, STS-121, is now targeted for a launch window between May 3 and May 23, 2006, with the following mission in July.
On the last shuttle flight (STS-114), foam insulation broke off the 37-foot "PAL" ramp, which runs along the side of the ET to smooth airflow around pipes and cables. NASA plans to remove the ramp, and either eliminate it altogether, or replace it with a new type of foam, applied to minimize shedding. Part of the ramp was replaced by foam before the STS-114 mission, and that area of foam did not shed.
The STS-121 ET has been brought by barge back to the New Orleans factory to be prepared for the STS-121 mission. Florida Today story
NASA is also investigating a possible gaseous oxygen link in Discovery's engine compartment during the STS-114 launch. This issue must be resolved before the next Shuttle flight can occur.
Tiger Team fact sheet, 81KB .pdf - full report, 2.1MB .pdf
(Aug 18, 2005) The next Space Shuttle flight, STS-121, which was to be of the orbiter Atlantis in September, 2005, is now targeted for March, 2006, and the orbiter Discovery will fly the mission instead of Atlantis. Two "Tiger Teams" are investigating fixes for the External Tank foam loss during Discovery's launch on July 26, and NASA says "the teams... are making good progress..." press conference transcript, .pdf
(Aug 9, 2005) The Space Shuttle Discovery landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California on Tuesday at 5:11am PDT after 14 days in orbit. details - landing on Real Video - photo
(Aug 5, 2005) NASA STS-114 mission managers have decided that a 4th spacewalk to remove a "ruffled" thermal blanket will not be needed. The TPS blanket is located below the commander's window of the Space Shuttle Discovery. The concern was about debris striking the rest of the vehicle should the blanket come loose, not about direct overheating. AP story
Thermal Protection System description
(Aug 3, 2005) On Wednesday morning, in the 3rd and final EVA of the Space Shuttle Discovery's STS-114 mission, Mission Specialist Steve Robinson rode on the tip of the Station's robotic arm to the Shuttle's underside and located two Thermal Protection System gap fillers that were protruding from areas between heat-shielding tiles. Robinson then gently tugged the gap fillers until they came out.
The ceramic coated-fabric gap fillers are used to protect against hot gas from seeping into gaps between the Shuttle's protective tiles, and were considered a potential threat to a safe reentry.
NASA feature: gap filler removal
WM or Real Video: 3rd EVA: gap filler removal - 2nd EVA - 1st EVA - All STS-114 Videos
(July 28, 2005) Photo analysis of the External Tank from Tuesday's launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery has shown that a large piece of spray-on foam insulation again broke off the ET during ascent, although there is no indication that it damaged or even struck the orbiter vehicle.
ET photos showing missing foam
The piece of foam missing from the ET is about 24"-33" long, 10"-13" wide, and 2½"-8" thick. probably weighing less than a pound. A similar, somewhat larger, piece of falling insulation has been blamed for putting a hole in a RCC (reinforced carbon-carbon) cap on the leading edge of the shuttle Columbia's wing in 2003, leading to the destruction of that vehicle and the loss of seven lives on reentry. AP-Houston Chronicle story
WM or Real Video:
Shuttle in-orbit inspection - ET camera shows orbiter separation - Shuttle ascent from chase plane - Discovery launch
(July 26, 2005) The Space Shuttle Discovery was successfully launched on Tuesday, July 26, at 10:39am, and reached orbit without any difficulties.
Shuttle engineers think that a grounding problem might have caused the incorrect sensor readings that scrubbed last week's launch attempt. No problems with the previously problematic fuel sensor system were encountered in any of three tests run during the countdown, or during the launch itself.
Discovery is making the first Space Shuttle flight since the STS-107 Columbia breakup in early 2003. This is the 114th shuttle flight in all, and the 31st flight of the Discovery. The mission, STS-114, has a crew of 7 commanded by Eileen Collins (the only female shuttle commander). They are carrying much-needed supplies (in the Rafaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module) to the International Space Station. In addition, two astronauts will make 3 EVAs.
The planned launch of the Discovery on mission STS-114 from Pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center was "scrubbed" at 1:32pm EDT on July 13, due to a false reading from a low fuel level cutoff sensor in the Shuttle's External Tank. The sensor is one of four LH2 low level sensors in the ET. The sensors are only used during flight, to trigger a shutdown of the engines if fuel is running out. Running the Shuttle main engines without fuel would cause a catastrophic failure.
NASA Books (NASA Special Publications) & NASA Articles Online
Some of the books below are Adobe .pdf files, which are nice for reading materials offline. If you would like to read NASA's .html online books, like most of those below, when you are offline, you can "harvest" the pages and images for free using HTTrack, a very useful freeware website capture and offline browsing tool. HTTrack also works well with groups of .pdf files linked to from a page or directory.|
Space Shuttle Books
Shuttle Crew Operations Manual: Section 2: Systems
is a 676-page, 20 MB .pdf (from the full 1,176 page manual), also available as separate chapters
Shuttle Payload Bay User's Guide is a 3.5MB, 255-page .pdf.
Shuttle Operational Data Book page links to 54 .pdf files
of "engineering" drawings detailing the Shuttle Orbiter structure.
Shuttle Operational Data Book: Green links to 18 .pdf files
of hard data like "Landing Deceleration"
Orbit Operations Checklist (2004) is a 269-page, 1.58 MB .pdf,
of onboard instructions without explanations
Space Shuttle Avionics System SP-504 (1989) from STSLiftoff.com
Space Shuttle Reference Manual original, hyperlinked text
Space Shuttle Reference Manual cleaner looking, unlinked text
Upgrading the Space Shuttle is the full text of a 1999 report from the National Research Council Committee on Space Shuttle Upgrades.
Toward a History of the Space Shuttle: An Annotated Bibliography is a very complete list of categorized and annotated Space Shuttle history text references. Many books and periodicals are listed, there are no web links.
Personal Observations on the Reliability of the Shuttle is the full text of Richard Feynman's addendum to the Challenger Commission report on the catastrophic loss of a Shuttle and seven lives on January 28, 1986.
The Space Shuttle Decision: NASA's Search for a Reusable Space Vehicle SP-4221 (1999)
Space Shuttle SP-407 (1976)
The Space Shuttle At Work SP-432 (1979)
Science in Orbit: The Shuttle & Spacelab Experience: 1981-1986 NP-119 (1988)
STS-51L Challenger Rogers Commission Report (1986)
Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report, .pdf: low-res 10MB - 28MB - 175MB hi-res
over 100 NASA online books are listed on the NASA News page
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