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NASA SUPPLIERS PLAY IMPORTANT ROLE IN RETURN TO FLIGHT



Submitted by Arthur N1ORC - Amsat A/C #31468

>June Malone
>Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
>(Phone: 256/544-0034)
>April 7, 2005
>RELEASE: 05-042
> 
>NASA'S SPACE SHUTTLE PROPULSION SUPPLIERS PLAY IMPORTANT ROLE IN RETURN TO
>FLIGHT
> 
>How many companies does it take to build three major elements for one of the
>most complex machines ever built -- NASA's Space Shuttle?
> 
>More than 300 companies in 36 states -- from large aerospace companies with
>hundreds of employees to small companies with only a few workers -- produce
>the components required to build the Shuttle's Main Engines, External Tank
>and the twin Solid Rocket Boosters that hold the Reusable Solid Rocket
>Motors.
>
>"Our Shuttle propulsion suppliers play a critical role in the nation's space
>program and in returning the Space Shuttle to safe flight," said Michael U.
>Rudolphi, manager of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at NASA's Marshall
>Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. With the hardware and components
>built by NASA suppliers, aerospace prime contractors integrate the
>propulsion elements into the Space Shuttle system. The propulsion system
>provides the thrust that launches and accelerates the Orbiter to an orbital
>velocity of 17,500 mph - 25 times faster than the speed of sound - in just
>over eight minutes. Suppliers in your area are making an important
>contribution to the nation's space program and their work has a positive
>impact on your local community's economy. A list of suppliers, with city and
>state where located is available at:
>
>http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/shuttle_supplie
>rs.html
>
>STS-114, the Space Shuttle's Return to Flight mission, is targeted for
>launch no earlier than May 15. The mission will carry a seven-member crew
>aboard the Discovery orbiter to the International Space Station to test and
>evaluate new procedures for flight safety, Shuttle inspections and repair
>techniques.
> 
>Returning the Shuttle to safe flight is the first step in the Vision for
>Space Exploration. The Vision also calls for completion of the International
>Space Station, a vital research platform for human endurance in space and a
>test bed for technologies and techniques that will enable longer journeys to
>the Moon, Mars and beyond.
>
>During launch, the Shuttle's three Main Engines, which are mounted in the
>aft fuselage of the Orbiter, produce more than 375,000 pounds of thrust:
>four times that of the largest engine flown on commercial jets. It takes
>more than a half-million gallons of liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen to
>fuel the engines. In fact, the three engines burn propellant at a rate that
>would drain an average-size swimming pool in 20 seconds. 
>
>The 153.8-foot long External Tank holds the propellant. Known as the
>structural backbone for the Shuttle, the tank supports the vehicle on the
>launch pad and absorbs the 7.3 million pounds of thrust generated during
>launch. Yet, its aluminum skin is less than a half-inch thick. If a soft
>drink can were expanded to tank size, its skin would be slightly thicker
>than the tank's skin. 
>
>Despite their power, the Main Engines alone cannot boost the vehicle to
>orbit. During the first two minutes of launch, the two Solid Rocket Boosters
>generate 85 percent of the necessary thrust and host the largest solid
>propellant rockets ever flown. Together these combine to produce more than
>6-million pounds of thrust -- in just over two minutes -- for the boost from
>the launch pad. 
>
>The Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at the Marshall Center manages the
>External Tank, Solid Rocket Boosters, Reusable Solid Rocket Motors and Main
>Engines. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company manufactures the tank at the
>Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The Main Engines are built by
>Rocketdyne Propulsion and Power Division of the Boeing Company in Canoga
>Park, Calif. The engine turbopump is built by Pratt and Whitney of West Palm
>Beach, Fla. The booster is built and refurbished by United Space Alliance at
>the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Solid Rocket Motors are
>manufactured by ATK Thiokol in Brigham City, Utah.
>
>For more information on the Web about STS-114 and America's return to
>spaceflight, visit:
> 
>http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/shuttle/
> 
>For more information About NASA's mission, visit:
> 
>http://www.nasa.gov 
>
>On the Web:
>News Release
>http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/news/releases/2005/05-042.html
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