Space Shuttle

Previously, all ventures in to space were achieved with giant rockets which, after a certain amount of time , were directed back in to the earth’s atmosphere to be reduced to a cinder by the enormous heat of re entry –after the crew and their capsule had been ejected virtually all of that tremendously expensive equipment was destroyed after only one use.

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially called the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft currently used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, a winged spaceplane which is the space shuttle in the narrowest sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere.[1] Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kg (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere. During the descent and landing, the shuttle orbiter acts as a glider, and makes a completely unpowered ("deadstick") landing.

Following are the main supporting systems of a space shuttle.

1. Propulsion system
2. External fuel tank
3. Space shuttle orbiter