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Space Shuttle Main Engine Flight Program

By January 1986, there had been 25 flights (75 engine launches with three SSMEs per flight) of the SSMEs. A total of 13 engines were flown, and SSME reusability was demonstrated. One engine (serial number 2012) has been flown 10 times; 10 other engines have flown between five and nine times. Two off-nominal conditions were experienced on the launch pad and one during flight. Two fail-safe shutdowns occurred on the launch pad during engine start but before solid rocket booster ignition. In each case, the controller detected a loss of redundancy in the hydraulic actuator system and commanded engine shutdown in keeping with the launch commit criteria. Another loss of redundancy occurred in flight with a loss of a redline temperature sensor and its backup. The engine was commanded to shut down, but the other two engines safely delivered the space shuttle to orbit. A major upgrade of these components was implemented to prevent a recurrence of these conditions and will be incorporated for STS-26.

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