A shuttle is the size of a jetliner, lifts into space using powerful boosters, and returns to Earth as a glider due to its aerodynamic wings. Launching like a rocket, it orbits the earth like a spacecraft and lands like an airplane ("Shuttle Basics," par. 1). It takes eight and a half minutes for the shuttle to reach space, it travels at 17,500 miles per hour, and the crew can see the sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes ("Space Shuttle Program," par. 3). The shuttle consists three main parts: the Orbiter Vehicle, two Solid Rocket Boosters, and the External Tank.
The Orbiter Vehicle (OV) is "the brains and heart of the Space Transportation System" ("The Orbiter," par. 1). Also called the fuselage, it has a cabin for the crew, a large cargo bay and three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSMEs). The forward part of the orbiter is the crew cabin; it is where the cockpit and living quarters can be found and where mission experiments are performed. The middle part of the orbiter is large open bay and it i...
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