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What happened to the external fuel tank on the Space Shuttle?

What happened to the external fuel tank on the Space Shuttle?

During launch, tank and boosters are jettisoned and fall back to Earth after a shuttle’s initial push to the sky. Unlike the boosters, however, the external tank is not collected and reused. Instead, the tanks are discarded to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

What is the purpose of external tank on shuttle?

The Space Shuttle external tank (ET) was the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contained the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer. During lift-off and ascent it supplied the fuel and oxidizer under pressure to the three RS-25 main engines in the orbiter.

Why are modules built with 4 flat walls?

Modules may be designed to transfer loads continuously through their longitudinal walls. In this form of construction, modules are manufactured with four closed sides to create cellular-type spaces. The modules are designed for the combined vertical load of the modules above and in-plane loads due to wind action.

Why is the external fuel tank orange?

It gets its signature orange color from the foam insulation sprayed on the tank’s aluminum structure. The main job of the tank is to hold about 535,000 gallons of super cold liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. The lower portion of the tank holds the liquid hydrogen, which is the fuel for the engines.

How much oxygen does the space shuttle carry?

The external tank held 143,000 gallons of liquid oxygen (1,359,000 pounds) and 383,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen (226,000 pounds). The fuel weighed almost 20 times more than the Shuttle. At launch, the Shuttle, external tank, solid rocket boosters and all the fuel combined had a total weight of 4.4 million pounds.

How many versions of the external tank are there?

Three different types of external tanks were built over the course of the 30-year Space Shuttle Program. The first six space shuttle missions used standard-weight tanks (SWTs), but later, two newer types of tanks were developed—lightweight tanks (LWTs) and super lightweight tanks (SLWTs).

Is Starship bigger than shuttle?

“Their upper stage [Starship] is bigger than the Space Shuttle’s external tank, which is huge. This thing is bigger than the Statue of Liberty from the platform up. And their first stage [Super Heavy] is almost as big as the Saturn V.” The ultimate goal of Starship is to launch up to 100 people at a time per flight.

How is the external tank on a Space Shuttle reused?

The tank is the only component of the Space Shuttle that is not reused. Approximately 8.5 minutes into the flight, with its propellant used, the tank is jettisoned. At liftoff, the External Tank absorbs the total (7.8 million pounds) thrust loads of the three main engines and the two solid rocket motors.

What was the temperature of the external tank on the Space Shuttle?

The external tank was covered with spray-on foam insulation that kept the liquid hydrogen at -423 degrees F. and liquid oxygen at -297 degrees F., even in the hot sun. The tank’s propellants would stay liquid only if kept at cold, or cryogenic, temperatures.

What was the external tank on the Shuttle Columbia made of?

Falling foam opened a hole in one of Columbia’s wings, leading to the orbiter’s breakup on entry. The new design, right, uses heaters instead of foam, to prevent ice buildup. Image credit: NASA The skin of the External Tank is covered with a thermal protection system that is a 2.5-centimeter (1-inch) thick coating of spray-on polyisocyanurate foam.

Where is the liquid oxygen tank on a Space Shuttle?

Liquid oxygen tank. The LOX tank is located at the top of the ET and has an ogive shape to reduce aerodynamic drag and aerothermodynamic heating. The ogive nose section is capped by a flat removable cover plate and a nose cone.