In 1969, after the end of the costly Apollo moon landing program, NASA, once a space race enthusiast, believed that they needed to develop a reusable space vehicle so that they could travel to and from space and earth more economically.
After all, in the Apollo program, the cost of one-time launch tools was too huge, and the number of people carried was limited. It was better to have a spaceship like a plane, so the space shuttle project was launched.
In 1977, the first space shuttle prototype, enterprise, was successfully tested, and this code name is named after the famous star ship enterprise in the science fiction drama Star Trek. It can be seen how important the United States has given to the industry.
Space shuttle enterprise was the most confidential and complicated flight in the world at that time. It used 3500 systems, 2.5 million parts and 31000 heat insulation tiles at the bottom, all of which were installed by hand.
It takes five days for a worker to load one piece. The space shuttle is composed of cockpit, equipment warehouse and tail power cabin. There are long mechanical claws in the equipment cabin, which can grasp satellite and other equipment in space.
During the test of the space shuttle, a modified Boeing 747 went up into the air and then separated to test its flight performance. However, the power of the space shuttle is only used for return. When it is launched, there are still rockets carrying it to the earth’s low earth orbit.
In fact, the space shuttle is not just a single plane, but consists of three parts.
One is the orbiter, that is, the aircraft itself; the other is the solid rocket thruster, that is, two white Rockets; the third is the external fuel tank, that is, the thick orange column in the middle. These two white rocket propellers will fall into the sea after they are launched into the air, and then they will be salvaged and recycled.
The space shuttle is really the “transport power king”. In 135 missions, six space shuttles have brought 852 people into low earth orbit. Since the enterprise, the United States has built six space shuttles.
Each aircraft can be reused 75 to 100 times, which seems to be very economical, but in fact, the investment of the whole space shuttle project is 228.5 billion US dollars, which is more than the total cost of the Apollo moon landing program in 10 years. So, the space shuttle is a bottomless hole.
So far, only the United States and the former Soviet Union have developed space shuttles, and the former Soviet Union’s Blizzard has never really been put into use.
What do you think about the space shuttle? Welcome to comment area.