Introduction to Space Shuttle
In the previous section we had a look at the various propulsion techniques for propelling a rocket. We saw that rocket; a space vehicle consisted of propellants, which were burned using a suitable propulsion technique to generate thrust.
Let us now see what are shuttles and how they have helped in exploring space
Space shuttles are manned, recoverable spacecraft designed to be used as a launch vehicle for Earth-orbiting experiments and as a short-term research platform.
Earlier rockets were used for placing astronauts and equipments in the outer space. But rockets could be used only once i.e. they were not reusable. The idea of reusable “space shuttle” that could be launched like rocket and made to enter the earth's atmosphere like an airplane appealed NASA. It began designing and evaluating cost of space shuttle.
Finally, after many years of construction and testing, the shuttle was ready to fly. Four shuttles were developed. These were
The first flight was in 1981 with the space shuttle Columbia , piloted by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen. Columbia performed well and the other shuttles soon made several successful flights.
As we now have a basic idea about the shuttles, let us go into detail and understand the working of the main parts of the shuttle.
The main parts of space shuttle are: