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

Forward Fuselage
Consists of the upper and lower fuselage, houses the crew compartment.

Crew Compartment
The three-level crew compartment includes the flight deck, middeck, and equipment bay.

The middeck airlock is large enough to accommodate two suited astronauts at once.

Forward Fuselage and Crew Compartment Windows
The orbiter has 11 windows.

An aerodynamic lifting surface that provides conventional lift and control for the orbiter.

Forms the payload bay area, interfaces with the forward fuselage, aft fuselage and wings.

Payload Bay Doors
Are opened shortly after orbital insertion to provide for vehicle heat dissipation.

Aft Fuselage
Consists of an outer shell, thrust structure and internal secondary structure.

Orbital Maneuvering System/Reaction Control System Pods
Attached to the aft fuselage, house the OMS/RCS propulsion components.

Body Flap
Thermally shields the main engines during entry, provides pitch control trim during landing approach.

Vertical Tail
Consists of a structural fin surface, a rudder, a tip and a lower trailing edge.

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