Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA Takes Delivery of 100th Space Shuttle External Tank

Date:
August 17, 1999
Source:
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center
Summary:
It's been the backbone of the Space Shuttle for 18 years, and now the 100th Space Shuttle external fuel tank has been delivered to NASA.

It's been the backbone of the Space Shuttle for 18 years, and now the 100th Space Shuttle external fuel tank has been delivered to NASA.

NASA and Lockheed Martin Michoud Space Systems in New Orleans, builder of the Shuttle external tanks, will commemorate delivery of the tank in a ceremony this week at Michoud Space Systems. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the tank program.

"Delivery of the 100th external tank is a major milestone for NASA's Space Transportation System," said Parker Counts, manager of the External Tank Project Office at Marshall. "Flying safely is the top priority of NASA and the Shuttle program. Not only has the external tank successfully performed as designed on every launch, but our government and industry team has been able to help enhance the Shuttle's performance by lowering the weight of the tank."

In two separate pressurized sections inside, the external tank holds 535,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants for the Shuttle's three Main Engines -- enough to fill more than 16 20-by-40-foot backyard swimming pools. The propellants are consumed in about 8.5 minutes. The Shuttle jettisons the tank at an altitude of about 70 miles. The tank falls back to Earth, disintegrating in the atmosphere over the ocean.

The giant cylinder is taller than a 15-story building, with a length of 154 feet (47 meters) and as wide as a silo with a diameter of 27.5 feet (8.4 meters). The largest single piece of the Space Shuttle, it must carry the stresses of the Shuttle and the solid-rocket boosters attached to it during launch. Machined from aluminum alloys, the tank is the only part of the Shuttle that is not reused.

The tank has gone through major changes since it was designed in the early 1980s. The most apparent is the color. After the initial three Shuttle flights, NASA determined 600 pounds could be shaved from the tank's launch weight by no longer coating the tank in white latex paint. Instead, the orange spray-on foam used to insulate the super cold propellants is left bare.

In 1983 on the sixth Shuttle launch, NASA introduced the first Lightweight Tank -- 10,000 pounds lighter than the first tank. In June 1998, NASA launched the first Super Lightweight Tank -- an additional 7,000 pounds lighter than the Lightweight Tank.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "NASA Takes Delivery of 100th Space Shuttle External Tank." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990816193701.htm>.
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. (1999, August 17). NASA Takes Delivery of 100th Space Shuttle External Tank. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990816193701.htm
NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center. "NASA Takes Delivery of 100th Space Shuttle External Tank." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/08/990816193701.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Did Russia Really Find Plankton On The ISS? NASA Not So Sure

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) Russian cosmonauts say they've found evidence of sea plankton on the International Space Station's windows. NASA is a little more skeptical. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Hello Georges

Space to Ground: Hello Georges

NASA (Aug. 18, 2014) Europe's ATV-5 delivers new science and the crew tests smart SPHERES. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

This Week @ NASA, August 15, 2014

NASA (Aug. 15, 2014) Carbon Observatory’s First Data, ATV-5 Delivers Cargo, Cygnus Departs Station and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins