Figure W-3 Orbiter Propulsion Systems
Figure W-4 Booster Statistics
Figure W-5 External Tank Statistics
3. Typical Shuttle Mission.
a. In a typical shuttle mission, the orbiter's main engines and the SRBs power the shuttle from the launch pad. Launches from NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, place the orbiter into an east-west orbit with an inclination of 28 to 57 degrees. (The inclination angle defines the latitude limits, both north and south, of the orbiter's orbit. When depicted on a map, the orbit appears as a sine wave whose limits are defined by the inclination or latitude.).
b. At a predetermined point, the two SRBs separate from the orbiter and parachute to the sea where they are recovered for reuse by NASA recovery ships. The SRBs are towed back to Hangar AF at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to begin reprocessing. The orbiter continues into space and jettisons the ET just before attaining orbit. The ET enters the atmosphere and breaks up over the Indian or Pacific Oceans. See Fig. W-6 and W-7.
c. In orbit, the orbiter uses its OMS to adjust its path, boost to a higher altitude, or conduct rendezvous operations. The OMS propellants, which ignite on contact, are monomethyl hydrazine as the fuel and nitrogen tetroxide as the oxidizer. The reaction control system, consisting of numerous small rocket engines, is used to provide roll, pitch, and yaw.