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Space Transportation System
Space Shuttle Program
The overall shuttle program is called the Space Transportation System. NASA oversees the program and coordinates flight requirements for all shuttle missions.

Space Shuttle Requirements
A high-level overview of the shuttle's requirements includes basic specifications and mission profile.

Launch Sites
Kennedy Space Center in Florida is the sole shuttle launch site. However, the Shuttle Reference Manual, last revised in 1988, includes plans for western test range satellite deployment missions from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California.

Background and Status
A high-level chronological overview of program milestones from 1972 to 1987.

Mission Profile
An overview of launch, orbit, and entry profiles is detailed here, including airspeed, altitude, and vehicle attitude requirements.

If a problem occurs in the first eight minutes after liftoff, one of five different abort modes may be used.
Intact Aborts
There are four types of intact aborts:
Abort To Orbit
Designed to allow the vehicle to achieve a temporary orbit that is lower than the nominal orbit.
Abort Once Around
Designed to allow the vehicle to fly once around the Earth and make a normal entry and landing.
Transatlantic Landing
Designed to permit an intact landing on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Return to Launch Site
Involves flying downrange to dissipate propellant and then turning around under power to return directly to a landing at or near the launch site.
Contingency Abort
Maintains orbiter integrity for in-flight crew escape if a landing cannot be achieved at a suitable landing field.

Orbiter Ground Turnaround
After landing, the orbiter undergoes postflight processing to secure its systems, recover payloads and experiments, and prepare it for its next mission.

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