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Space Shuttle



The Space Shuttle project consists of a series of reusable space transportation systems that are used in three different ways -- (1) to carry automated satellites to near-earth orbit from which they may be launched to higher altitudes with additional booster stages, (2) to launch major automated satellites into near-earth orbit and to provide revisit and maintenance opportunities, and (3) to carry scientific equipment into orbit and return to earth after periods of 7 to 30 days (sortie missions). The 'Final report of the Space Shuttle payload planning working groups' (NASA-GSFC, May 1973) proposes that experiments be carried out in the following major fields -- (1) astronomy, using a Large Space Telescope (LST) and several other IR and UV telescopes, (2) atmospheric and space physics, using tracer release techniques, (3) high-energy astrophysics (x-ray astronomy, structure and dynamics of the interstellar medium), using various telescopes, spectrometers, proportional counter arrays, and probes, (4) life sciences, an aggregate of related research and technology efforts including planetary biology, biomedicine, biology, and advancec technology, (5) solar physics, using various polarimeters, scintillators, proportional counters, spark chambers, and neutron detectors, (6) communications and navigation, (7) earth observations, including monitoring over long periods of time of the physical state and dynamic behavior of the earth's land surface features as well as the other elements of global environment (air, water, and ice), (8) earth and ocean physics, (9) materials processing and space manufacturing, and (10) space technology. Approximately 445 launches have been proposed, to cover a period of 12 years.

Alternate Names

  • SpaceShuttle

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1980-06-01
Launch Vehicle: 
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States

Funding Agency

  • NASA-Office of Manned Space Flight (United States)


  • Space Physics
  • Life Science
  • Solar Physics
  • Human Crew
  • Astronomy
  • Earth Science
  • Microgravity

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. H. Kent Hills



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. Myron S. MalkinProject ManagerNASA Headquarters
Mr. Richard E. ThompsonProject ManagerNASA Johnson Space Center
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