Talk:Space Shuttle orbiter

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Use of Shuttle after retirement[edit]

NASA plans retire the Shuttle by 2010, but the space planes perhaps could be use after this. Every orbiter was designed for 100 flights, a number never reached. With some modification they can transform into a single stage to orbit (SSTO) and so use for Space Tourism: orbital flights and/or visits to the ISS (currently visited at present) Replacing the three SSME by two Ramjet-Scramjet engines and firing strongers OMS engines in the upper atmosphere shuttle can reach the orbit. Shuttle would be thrown by a carrier Boeing 747 gaining speed enough to ignite de Ramjets. LH2/LOX fuel would storage in tanks into the Payload Bay. This will convert the shuttle in a fully reusable spacecraft. User:

While the hardware may have been intended for 100 launches each, they were designed assuming significantly more frequent launches. From January 1985 to January 1986, we had 10 launches, and this was before launches started from California (which had been planned for later in 1986. Some of the shuttle components were only rated for 10 years, and are now over 20 years old. (Read the article Space Shuttle Atlantis, "Aging" section.) Even Endeavour will be 20 years old by the time the program has ended. As for modifying for launch from a 747, there is no reasonable way to modify the shuttle to be capable of achieving orbital velocity launched that way. It's just too big and heavy. (Remember, the 747 only carries the Shuttle when it is completely empty, I don't think a 747 could carry a Shuttle with a payload bay full of fuel.) 08:38, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Economically, this just isn't feasible. Making something fully reusable doesn't make it cheap, unfortunately. The complexity of the SSTS is just too enormous, routine maintenance demands too costly, and infrastructure required to keep her flying to substantial. Money spend for such modifications would be far better spent on something designed from the ground up for this very purpose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

You have to be smoking something. --Craigboy (talk) 08:44, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Shuttle cost[edit]

How much does an orbiter cost to build? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:10, 20 March 2007 (UTC).

Difficult to say. I believe the average has been about $2,000,000,000 but if all of them had been built at the same time that cost would have been much lower since they could have run a 'production line'. I'm not sure where we'd find offical figures on that. Mark Grant 02:54, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
Too much, from what i have heard Mark is right 2 billion, but probably more in todays dollars.Chris H 02:13, 31 May 2007 (UTC)


What are the windows made of? Where are the The Orbital Maneuvering System, the Reaction Control System, and the Thermal Protection System located, and how do they work? What is the parachute made of? How is it deployed?
Should these questions be answered in this article, or are there already articles on these topics, and if there are, could someone please add them to the "see also" section?

Vsst 00:52, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

The diagram on the page answers some of those questions, but I agree that there could be more detailed explanations in the text. As for the windows, I believe they're made of three or four layers of glass; amongst other things, by using multiple layers, a crack in one layer due to space debris impact won't cause depressurisation. Mark Grant 02:53, 30 May 2007 (UTC)
I'd love to know the heights of the three levels of the shuttle cabin: the flight deck (height probably varies, though), the mid-deck, and the utility area below the mid-deck. I've found everything else but that. I haven't found any source on the web (including nasa websites), or any of a number of detailed books that mention these heights.

-- 18:25, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

This is completely original research, but the lower equipment bay is only a few feet deep; the middeck is comfortable to stand in, probably around a 7 foot ceiling; and I can only stand under the windows in the flight deck without hitting my head on the overhead panel, so 6 feet at most, and a bit less for most of it. --anonymous6494 04:06, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Merge Potential?[edit]

Just posing the thought that this article should be merged with Space Shuttle. That article deals with the orbiter and not the entire Space Shuttle program, so I see no conflict, but I'm not up on wiki standards in this regard. Ageekgal 17:28, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Actually, as I understand it, Orbiter is about the spaceplane itself. Then Space Shuttle is about the whole Space Transportation System stack. Then Space Shuttle Program is the NASA program that operates the shuttles. It's a bit complicated where it breaks, and there is some overlap, and I think there's still room for improvement. SchuminWeb (Talk) 19:02, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Gotcha. Thank you for the clarification, and for cleaning up my improper placement of my question on the talk page. (oops). - Ageekgal 19:22, 21 August 2007 (UTC)


I think the airlock has been re-modelled from an original postion where it occupied part of the mid-deck to one where there is a hatch entrance to a unit in the payload bay that also forms the docking mechanism with the ISS. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:18, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

All of the current orbiters have the external airlock you mention. I think Columbia still had the internal airlock. anonymous6494 04:08, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Article title capitalization[edit]

I am of the opinion that the proper capitalization for the title of this article would be, "Space Shuttle orbiter." Am I mistaken? (sdsds - talk) 02:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Considering that the text of the article refers to "orbiter" in lowercase throughout, I will agree with you, and I've gone ahead and completed the move. SchuminWeb (Talk) 04:48, 12 March 2008 (UTC)

Data for 'Crew Compartment Space' must be wrong[edit]

I belive that the data given for the 'Crew Compartment Space' must be wrong. The volume is almost as large as the volume for the payload bay. It must be wrong. Can someone check ? Am I misunderstanding something ? Thanks, Lars Petersen —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Equalizing pressure of payload bay[edit]

How is the pressure inside the payload bay equalized to that of outside? (talk) 20:46, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

There would be vents, but I don't know where they are located. Venting spacecraft is a surprisingly complicated business, I recently read the NASA paper about it; the airflow around the outside of the vehicle is quite hard to predict and if you get it wrong the over or under pressurisation pops or crushes the vehicle.- (User) Wolfkeeper (Talk) 21:38, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

"Orbiter" v. "Shuttle"[edit]

Should the article mention that the orbiter is commonly (mistakenly) referred to as the "shuttle," while that term refers to the whole ship (boosters and external tank included)? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:14, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

The whole thing is an STS, isn't it? (Space Transportation System) (talk) 14:52, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

Crew Size[edit]

STS-61-A carried eight people but the page says the max is seven. --Craigboy (talk) 10:48, 21 April 2010 (UTC)

You're right; the max crew size was supposed to have been seven, and there were eight crew aboard STS-61-A. Apparently that was the only time more than seven people flew in an Orbiter, and I can't seem to find an explanation for it. Must have been *awfully* cramped in there, though. (talk) 22:34, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Palmdale photo request[edit]

Is there a good photo available of an orbiter under construction at the USAF Plant 42 in Palmdale? Adding one to this article would be a great improvement! (sdsds - talk) 02:14, 4 July 2010 (UTC)

Landing Lights[edit]

The article mentions the lack of landing lights but doesn't fully explain why they're absent - I've always assumed that it was impractical to fit them on account of the heatproof tiles, and this quote from Google books seems to support this but, frustratingly, the astronaut doesn't explicitly say that this is the reason. Is there a better source somewhere? -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 20:43, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

I consider this pre-existing statement to be a full explanation:
When an Orbiter landing is carried out at night, the runway is always strongly illuminated with light from floodlights and spotlights on the ground, making landing lights on the Orbiter unnecessary and also an unneeded spaceflight weight load.
--Tdadamemd (talk) 19:42, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Update Needed for Timeline Graph[edit]

This graph is in need of an update:

The note says, "orbiters currently in service are shown in green." I recommend adding a new color to show Discovery as a retired (but not destroyed) orbiter.--Tdadamemd (talk) 19:49, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

Training Vehicles[edit]

Should we add them to the article? There's three located in Houston, the Full Fuselage Trainer (FFT), the Crew Compartment Trainer (CCT) and the Crew Compartment Trainer II (CCT II).

--Craigboy (talk) 02:56, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I think the trainers should have articles, since we have articles on Explorer, and the engineering test articles. Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer, Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer I, Space Shuttle Crew Compartment Trainer II . -- especially the FFT, since the other full sized mockups have articles. If the CCTs get articles, then perhaps SS Adventure might also. (talk) 14:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
Is the FFT the one the put into the water tank? (talk) 14:51, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

File:Shuttle profiles.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Regards, Anameofmyveryown (talk) 20:43, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

The book looks like it might be good, but the site doesn't really seem to have much useful information. Even worse, in a spot check of the images, none of them could be proven as being from NASA (and thus public domain). We have a woefully inadequate selection of Shuttle construction photos. Huntster (t @ c) 00:39, 23 September 2013 (UTC)
I don't know if you have them already, but this guy's blog has a few public-domain images of orbiter construction, including this page with black-and-white public domain photos of tiles and engines being fitted to Columbia at KSC suring final integreation and testing, after delivery from Palmdale. Failing that, you could always do an image google search of and strip off the construction photographs: they'd be public domain because published by NASA. Regards, Anameofmyveryown (talk) 21:50, 9 November 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for that link, I'll see about getting those images uploaded to Commons if they aren't already. The problem is that construction photographs were taken by Rockwell employees. For some reason, it seems NASA left photographic documentation in their hands, rather than doing it themselves. I've taken cursory glances through the NASA History archive with no luck either. Ah well, will just have to keep on searching. Huntster (t @ c) 10:49, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Spaceplane Category[edit]

As is stated in the lead, the space shuttle orbiter is a spaceplane, and so belongs in the spaceplane category. I can't see the rational for reverting this.Ezrado (talk) 00:09, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Because it's the parent category of Category:Space Shuttle orbiters, which means that Category:Space Shuttle orbiters is part of Category:Spaceplanes already. In most cases, both categories aren't needed on the same article. I hope that helps explain it. - BilCat (talk) 00:22, 20 December 2014 (UTC)
That may be true in most cases, but this case is explicitly given as an exception in the categorisation guidelines - "articles should not appear both in a category and a "parent" of that category; however an exception should be made for the "main article" of a category". Since this is the main article of Category:Space Shuttle orbiters, it should also appear in the parent category. --W. D. Graham 10:28, 20 December 2014 (UTC)

Reverting my edits[edit]

User:Anythingcouldhappen, Why did you revert my edits? --Arado (talk) 20:47, 12 March 2015 (UTC)

This talk page is for discussion of the Space Shuttle article and is not the appropriate place to ask this. A(Ch) 22:06, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
Then answer please on your talk page--Arado (talk) 22:08, 12 March 2015 (UTC)