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Shuttle Operations (U)

Overview (U):

(U) The Space Transportation System (STS) or Space Shuttle is the only man-rated space launch vehicle launched in the United States. The vehicle is managed by NASA. The vehicle consists of a reusable orbiter, external fuel tank and two solid rocket boosters. The Shuttle is capable of delivering heavy payloads to orbit and can also be used to repair or retrieve satellites already in low earth orbit (LEO). The shuttle fleet consists of four orbiters and is launched from pads A&B of Launch Complex 39 (SLC-39A/B) at Kennedy Space Center, FL. Landing facilities are available in Florida and at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB), CA.

Description (U):

(U) The DoD Space Shuttle Operations program consists of a long-range planning function that develops and maintains analysis tools used to support the space launch requirements National Mission Model including the coordination efforts for both normal and contingency Space Shuttle operations. It also supports the DoD's space technology export controls monitoring function.

(U) The Space Shuttles are true aerospace vehicles. They leave Earth and its atmosphere under rocket power provided by three liquid-fueled main engines and two solid-fuel boosters attached to an external liquid fuel tank. At the end of a mission, the Space Shuttle streaks back at the end of its orbit through the atmosphere and maneuvers like an airplane. The Space Shuttles, however, are without power and land on runways like a glider.

(U) Other rockets can place heavy payloads in space, but are used once. Space Shuttles are designed to be used 100 times. They are used to transport complete scientific laboratories into space. The laboratories remain inside the payload bay throughout the mission. They are removed after the orbiter returns to Earth and can be prepared for another flight. Some of these laboratories, like the Spacelab developed by the European Space Agency, provide facilities for several specialists to conduct experiments in such fields as medicine, astronomy, and materials manufacturing. Among the types of satellites the Space Shuttle can orbit and service are those in environmental and resources protection, weather forecasting, navigation, oceanographic studies, and other fields useful to citizens throughout the world.
(U) Interplanetary spacecraft can be placed into orbit by Space Shuttles with the use of a propulsion unit called the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS). After the satellite or spacecraft is deployed from the shuttle payload bay, the IUS is ignited to accelerate the spacecraft deep into space. The IUS is also used to boost satellites into an orbit higher than the Space Shuttle's maximum altitude of 600 miles.

(U) In the future, Space Shuttles will be used to carry into orbit the structural components that will be assembled and become the International Space Station (ISS), a permanent facility where crews of astronauts will work for extended periods of time. The ISS will have its own solar power units and astronauts will conduct a wide range of scientific activities. Space Shuttles will not only be used to help construct the ISS, but will be used to ferry crew members and supplies between it and Earth.

User Impact (U):

(U) To be supplied.

Programmatics (U):

(U) Operational.

Images (U):

ShuttleThe Space Shuttle at Lift-Off
ShuttleShuttle Launch at Cape Canaveral
ShuttleThe Space Shuttle Preparing for Launch
ShuttleSpace Shuttle Atlantis Docking with the Mir Space Station
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Initiatives (U):
Arnold Engineer Dev Cntr (AEDC)Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC)
Eastern RangeEastern Range
IUSInertial Upper Stage (IUS)
This Table Is Unclassified.

Related Requirements (U):None.

Related Categories (U):
Launch VehiclesLaunch Vehicles
This Table Is Unclassified.

Road Map Placements (U):

This Table Is Unclassified.

Requirements, Funding and Additional Hotlinks (U):

Shuttle Operations
Shuttle Missions-Endeavor
Shuttle Missions-Columbia
Sattelite Control ORD (95)
Shuttle Missions-Challenger
NASA Shuttle Web
Shuttle Missions-Enterprise
Shuttle Missions-Atlantis
Shuttle Missions-Discovery
This Table Is Unclassified.

Lead Office (U):


(U) DoD: OASD(C3I), Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Service Staff: HQAF/XORR, Pentagon, Washington, DC
(U) Major Command: USCINCSPACE, Peterson AFB, CO
(U) Program Management: AFSPC/DO, Peterson AFB, CO

Point of Contact (U):

(U) Maj Mike LaPointe, NSSA, Open Phone: (703) 325-6422, DSN 221-6422.
(U) National Security Space Road Map Team, NSSA, Open Phone: (703)808-6040, DSN 898-6040.

Date Of Information (U):

(U) 21 November 1997

(U) Road Map Production Date: 12 July 1999

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