132 – The Space Shuttle (Part 1, Systems)
This is the first of two episodes on the the Space Shuttle’s systems and operations. We talk to Davide Sivolella, an aerospace engineer who has written a quite technical book on the shuttle. In this episode we talk about some of the shuttle’s systems, including the structure, the engines, the boosters and the thermal protection system.
A Correction: Davide mentioned that the external tank is manufactured in New Jersey. This is wrong. It is built in Lousiana.
A related omega tau episode is episode 43, Flying the Space Shuttle.
- Davide Sivolella’s book on the Space Shuttle
- Jeff Hoffman’s Lecture Series on the Shuttle
- David Woods’ book on Apollo
- Space Transportation System (WP)
- Boeing X-20 Dyna-Soar (WP)
- Polar orbit (WP)
- Vandenberg Air Force Base – Home
- Vandenberg AFB (WP)
- Lifting body (WP)
- Space Shuttle Challenger disaster (WP)
- EELV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
- Space Shuttle Columbia disaster (WP)
- North American X-15 (WP)
- Single-stage-to-orbit (WP)
- Tsiolkovsky rocket equation (WP)
- Space Shuttle: The History of the National Space Transportation
- Titanium (WP)
- Hot Structures – NASA
- Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird (WP)
- Space Shuttle thermal protection system (WP)
- Silica fiber (WP)
- Space Shuttle Thermal Tile Demonstration – YouTube
- Reinforced carbon–carbon (WP)
- Fiberglass (WP)
- Obrital Maneuvering System
- Hydrazine (WP)
- Hypergolic propellant (WP)
- Surface tension (WP)
- Surface Tension Propellant Tanks – Astrium ST – EADS
- Redundancy (WP)
- Space Shuttle Main Engine (WP)
- Gas-generator cycle (rocket) (WP)
- Turbopump (WP)
- Staged combustion cycle (rocket) (WP)
- Max Q (WP)
- Dynamic pressure (WP)
- Glass cockpit (WP)
- IMU (WP)
- Gimbal lock (WP)
- ADA (WP)
Listener Jake found the flight rules as a PDF online..
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obvious link to MITs Aircraft Systems Engineering Course
22 Video Lectures on the Space Shuttle
meh, just saw you already included the link, should have read the links more carefully. sry.
Wow, what an insightful episode – thanks a lot David and Markus!
Jeff Hoffman’s Lecture Series on the Shuttle link should be:
The initial testing of digital fly-by-wire-systems started in 1972 on an F-8, using Apollo flight computers: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/FactSheets/FS-024-DFRC.html
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The YouTube link to “Space Shuttle Thermal Tile Demonstration” is broken. It should be “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp9Yax8UNoM” not “http://www.youtube.com/watch?vu003dPp9Yax8UNoM”.
Right! Now that you say that I remember reading about it in some software architecture book. Thanks for the comment!
Thx! Damn encoding problems! Fixing it now!
An excellent episode Markus! As a life-long fan of the space program (I was 22 when Apollo 11 landed) I found your interview with Davide very interesting, especially the USAF’s influence on the Shuttle’s design. I am very much looking forward to Part 2. Keep up the good work! Regards, Rob, Perth, Western Australia.
Thank you, Robert :-)
This is what I love about this podcast: again I’ve learned about influences and interests as background for decisions on technical structures like the Shuttle which I never would have heard about in normally spreaded documentations as in TV or similar.
Great job to always find the right interview partners and to ask exactly the right questions. Also to have an understanding for what the “normal” listener should have explained one more time or in more detailled matter!
And I’m eagerly looking forward to part II of this episode!
Thanks Jochen :-) I’ll publish Part II later this week or on the weekend!
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another great episode, perfect. many thanks, on to part 2 :)
Thanks Walter :)
Thanks for another fantastic episode. I really enjoy learning about the space program, especially at this exceptional level of detail.
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I know this is long after the episode, but I’m catching up…
Fantastic episode, and fantastic podcast in general. I can see that I will be spending the next several months catching up on the last 5 years. The shuttle episodes in particular are especially fascinating. As US resident who lived through the entire program, I was lead to believe that most of the technical limitations in the hardware were really limited by the state of the art, but Davide makes it clear that many were really funding or political limitations. For example, the use of aluminium alloy rather than titanium, and the requirement for good glide performance to support military missions in polar orbit which never occurred.
Anyway, keep up the good work. After listening to half of this episode I took a break and ordered immediately a copy of Davide’s book, which I’m really looking forward to reading.