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Shuttle Reference Manual

The Shuttle Reference Manual, most recently revised in 1988, is an in depth technical guide to space shuttle equipment and operations. It was accurate in 1988 and while most of the information provided here from the manual is still accurate today, some facts may be outdated.

A verbose index of the Manual is also available.

Space Transportation System
The overall shuttle program is called the Space Transportation System.

Orbiter Manufacturing and Assembly
Orbiter structures were manufactured at various companies under contract to Rockwell International's Space Transportation Systems Division, Downey, Calif.

Operational Improvements and Modifications
Many of the changes and upgrades in the space shuttle systems and components were under way before the 51-L accident as part of NASA's continual improvement and upgrade program. However, NASA has taken advantage of the space shuttle program downtime since the accident to accelerate the testing and integration of these improvements and upgrades as well as fixes required as a result of the accident.

Solid Rocket Boosters
Two solid rocket boosters provide the main thrust to lift the space shuttle off the pad. They are the largest solid-propellant motors ever flown, the first designed for reuse.

External Tank
The largest element of the shuttle vehicle is the external tank, which supplies fuel and oxidizer to the space shuttle main engines during launch.

Space Shuttle Coordinate System
The space shuttle coordinate reference system is a means of locating specific points on the shuttle.

Orbiter Structure
The orbiter structure is divided into several major sections and is constructed mostly of aluminum.

Orbiter Passive Control System
A passive thermal control system helps maintain the temperature of the orbiter spacecraft, systems and components within their temperature limits.

Orbiter Purge, Vent and Drain System
The purge, vent and drain system on the orbiter is designed to prevent accumulation of hazardous gasses and vent compartments.

Orbiter Flight Crew Escape Systems
Provided for use only when the orbiter would be in controlled gliding flight and unable to reach a runway.

Crew Equipment
The space shuttle provides a shirtsleeve environment for its crew during orbital flight.

Space Shuttle Orbiter Systems
Orbiter systems provide multiple redundancy for safe and effective operation.

Mission Events Summary
Chronological summary of mission phases from T minus 20 minutes through wheelstop.

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