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  • - [Jared] This is the space shuttle.

  • It's kind of like a space plane.

  • It launched like a rocket,

  • but then landed like an airplane on a runway.

  • In this video we're going to take a closeup look

  • at the inside of the orbiter vehicle.

  • We'll see the crew compartment, the payload bay

  • and all the way to the engines on the very back.

  • My name is Jared.

  • I make 3D animations on how things work.

  • In the past I've had a lot of fun

  • doing other space animations

  • like the International Space Station

  • and the Apollo Spacecraft.

  • I'll leave links for these videos down below.

  • But I think it's about time that we finally take a look

  • at the space shuttle.

  • Thanks to our sponsor for this video which is Brilliant,

  • a fun and interactive way to learn math,

  • science and engineering.

  • The space shuttle was used by NASA for 30 years

  • and flew 135 missions.

  • 2011 was the last time the space shuttle was flown.

  • The space shuttle consists of the orbiter vehicle,

  • the orange external tank,

  • and then the two white solid rocket boosters

  • or SRBs for short.

  • The external tank is basically a big fuel container

  • for the three main engines.

  • The two SRBs each carry their own fuel.

  • This is a partially reusable system.

  • The orbiter and the two SRBs are reusable,

  • but the external tank was not reusable.

  • They had to make a new one for each mission.

  • Keep in mind that a lot of people call this part

  • the space shuttle even though technically

  • this is just one part of the space shuttle.

  • So, orbiter vehicle or space shuttle.

  • Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably.

  • Let me show you what a typical mission looked like.

  • The space shuttle was launched

  • from Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

  • (bright music)

  • The two SRBs did most of the work for the first two minutes.

  • At that point they were detached

  • and fell back down to the earth

  • where they would be recovered and used for a future mission.

  • The three main engines are on their own

  • for the next six and a half minutes.

  • (bright music)

  • After that the orange external tank was separated

  • and it fell down to the earth

  • where it burned up in the atmosphere.

  • The three main engines are now dead weight

  • and won't be used for the remainder of the mission.

  • The last push to get into orbit

  • is done by the two smaller OMS motors.

  • Now the shuttle will circle the earth once every 90 minutes.

  • That's a speed of 28,000 kilometers per hour.

  • The payload bay doors will be opened once they are in space.

  • And in fact for most of the time

  • the orbiter will be facing backwards as it orbits the earth.

  • This protects the astronauts in case of any space debris.

  • Many of the missions were around 320 kilometers high,

  • but some missions went as high as 550 kilometers.

  • Anywhere in this area is called low earth orbit

  • and it's where all of the shuttle missions happened.

  • At the end of the mission,

  • the OMS motor fires up to slow the spacecraft down.

  • It doesn't change the speed by much,

  • but it's enough to send it on a path

  • back through the atmosphere

  • and things are going to get a little hot.

  • This part is called reentry.

  • (bright music)

  • Once we're close to the ground,

  • the orbiter glides down to the runway.

  • The wheels are extended

  • and the orbiter lands similar to an airplane.

  • This red parachute helps to slow it down on the runway.

  • Now remember the orbiter is reusable.

  • Before the space shuttle,

  • launch vehicles were only designed to be used once.

  • You had to build a new one for each mission,

  • but with the space shuttle,

  • the orbiter vehicle could be reused for many missions.

  • There were five of them built to travel into space:

  • Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis, and Endeavour.

  • And actually there was another one called Enterprise.

  • The very first orbiter to be built.

  • This one never flew in space,

  • but it was only used for tests here on earth.

  • Challenger and Columbia were both destroyed in accidents,

  • but the other four orbiters can be found in museums

  • here in the United States.

  • Let's take a closer look at the orbiter.

  • (bright music)

  • Some have called this

  • the most complex flying machine ever built.

  • On most missions it had a crew of seven astronauts

  • and stayed in space for one to two weeks.

  • It is 37 meters long and 24 meters wide.

  • For comparison here's the Apollo Spacecraft

  • which landed astronauts on the moon

  • and here is a Boeing 747.

  • Let's take a look at the main parts of the orbiter

  • and then I'll show you more of what's on the inside.

  • The main body down the center is called the fuselage.

  • We can break this up into three parts:

  • The forward, mid and the aft fuselage.

  • The aft fuselage has a vertical stabilizer in the middle

  • and three engines on the back.

  • These are called the space shuttle main engines.

  • The two smaller ones up here

  • are called the OMS rocket motors,

  • and OMS stands for Orbital Maneuvering System.

  • The mid fuselage has the wings attached to each side

  • and then in the center is the payload bay.

  • Sometimes called the cargo bay.

  • This is where they would transport large items into space.

  • Forward fuselage has the nose cone

  • and the full reaction control system module.

  • These tiny holes are thrusters which can help change

  • the orientation of the shuttle in space.

  • And most importantly the crew compartment.

  • This is where the astronauts spend most of their time.

  • On the bottom is the thermal protection system

  • otherwise known as the heat shield.

  • There are more than 27,000 silica tiles

  • to protect the shuttle from the enormous heat of reentry.

  • There are three doors on the bottom

  • that contain the landing gear.

  • These open up once the shuttle gets close to the runway.

  • Okay, we've seen the outside of the shuttle,

  • now let's take a look at the inside

  • starting with the crew compartment.

  • There are three levels in here:

  • The flight deck, the mid deck and the equipment bay.

  • The flight deck has the controls to fly the orbiter.

  • The commander is on the left and the pilot is on the right.

  • There are two more seats directly behind,

  • but these will be stowed away

  • for most of their time in space.

  • At the back of the flight deck there's more control panels.

  • These two windows look directly into the payload bay.

  • There's also two windows on top and six in the front.

  • The flight deck has a hole on the floor

  • that leads down to the mid deck.

  • There's a ladder,

  • but when you're in space you can just float through.

  • The mid deck is where the crew eats,

  • sleeps and does some of their work.

  • These are the lockers to store equipment

  • and personal belongings of the astronauts.

  • These are the sleep stations.

  • It can fit three astronauts horizontally.

  • More astronauts sleep in bags attached to the side here.

  • There's no gravity in space

  • so sleeping is a bit different than here on earth.

  • This is the galley used to prepare food.

  • Don't forget about the bathroom in space.

  • This is called the waste collection system.

  • This is the airlock

  • for when astronauts get in their space suits

  • and then go outside to access the payload bay.

  • Behind this row of lockers is the avionics bay.

  • This holds equipment and computers

  • that can help fly the shuttle.

  • Several seats can be set up in the mid deck

  • for launch and reentry.

  • The shuttle was designed to fit six to eight astronauts.

  • On most missions there were seven,

  • three on the mid deck and four on the flight deck.

  • Below the mid deck is the equipment bay

  • which holds the waste management systems, water tanks,

  • pumps, and more storage space.

  • The crew compartment here

  • is the only pressurized part of the orbiter,

  • which means is the only part that astronauts can be in

  • without a space suit.

  • The side hatch is how they enter

  • and leave the orbiter on earth.

  • The hatch is not used while they're in space.

  • If they did it would suck all the air out.

  • Not good.

  • When it's time for some of the astronauts to go outside,

  • they'll use the airlock.

  • For now I'm going to skip over the payload bay.

  • We'll come back to it.

  • The engines are in the aft fuselage

  • which is in the very back.

  • This is the thrust structure which contains three holes

  • for the space shuttle main engines.

  • These are RS-25 engines

  • which are powered by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

  • The fuels are stored in the external tank

  • during the launch through the atmosphere.

  • The fuel was fed through the belly of the orbiter

  • and back to the three engines.

  • The fuel is extremely cold before it is burned.

  • The hydrogen is pumped down the side of each engine

  • and then back up the inside through many smaller tubes.

  • In this way the fuel was used as the cooling system

  • before it is burned.

  • All three engines can be gimbaled from side to side

  • or up and down.

  • This was done during the launch to steer the orbiter.

  • Right above there's

  • the orbital maneuvering system rocket motors.

  • These helped give the final push into orbit

  • at the beginning of the mission

  • and also slow the spacecraft down at the end of the mission.

  • The OMS is actually made of two pods

  • on each side of the vertical stabilizer.

  • These contain their own fuel and oxidizer tanks.

  • You'll also notice

  • that there are more tiny thrusters out here.

  • There's even more of them underneath.

  • This is part of the reaction control system or RCS.

  • We saw earlier in the video that there are RCS thrusters

  • in the front as well.

  • All three RCS modules can work together

  • to change the orientation of the shuttle.

  • The orbiter has several parts

  • which are very similar to what an airplane has.

  • The wings, the elevons, the body flap,

  • and the vertical stabilizer with a rudder on the back.

  • This rudder can also function as a speed break.

  • These parts don't really matter in the vacuum of space,

  • but they will matter once we're close to the ground

  • and ready to land.

  • Okay, now let's take a closer look at the payload bay.

  • Once in orbit around the earth,

  • the payload bay doors are opened up to expose the inside.

  • It's very important to get these doors open

  • because they have radiator panels on the inside

  • to help get rid of excess heat.

  • The bay is big enough to fit a payload

  • of up to 18 meters long and 4.6 meters in diameter.

  • This was used to launch many satellites

  • including the Hubble Space Telescope.

  • It was also used to launch modules

  • for the International Space Station.

  • On some missions they carried a module called Spacelab,

  • which has extra working space for science experiments.

  • The astronauts can get in here

  • by floating through the access tunnel.

  • Along the left side of the cargo bay, there's a robotic arm

  • called the Shuttle Remote Manipulator System

  • also known as the Canadarm.

  • This was a contribution by Canada.

  • It was operated from the controls

  • at the back of the flight deck.

  • They looked right through this window.

  • The Canadarm was used to grab

  • and move payloads around in space.