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Name: Bob W Whitbeck
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Question:
What kind of fuel do space shuttles use?



Replies:
It depends on what you mean by "space shuttle" -- the official name is Space Transportation System (ever wonder what the "STS" stands for in the mission names?). For launch the STS uses 2 systems: the main engines in the orbiter that burn hydrogen and oxygen from the external tank (the great big orange cylinder that the orbiter is attached to for launch); and the SRBs (Solid Rocket Boosters) that burn a solid rocket propellant that is a mixture of powdered aluminum and ammonium perchlorate. These are used only for launch. The orbiter (what most people think of as "the Space Shuttle") has two propulsion systems: OMS (Orbital Maneuvering System) used to change orbit and to return to earth, and the RCS (Reaction Control System) used for station- keeping and attitude control. Both systems burn hydrazine with oxygen.

Jade Hawk



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