Encyclopedia Astronautica
Shuttle II


American orbital launch vehicle. In May 1988 NASA Langley studied a new-technology approach to improving the shuttle's payload capability. The design would allow 9,000 to 18,000 kg of additional payload to be carried in an external payload container or in the orbiter.

Composite material technology would be used in a substantial rebuild of the shuttle orbiters. New, lighter RSI tiles would be used, and a new SSME jointly designed by Pratt and Whitney and Aerojet would replace the Rocketdyne motor. The new SSME would deliver 304,000 kg while weighing only 3770 kg versus 4688 kg for the Rocketdyne engine. Electric actuators would replace hydraulic actuators inside the shuttle, In all, the new orbiter would be 16% lighter at SECO.

LEO Payload: 40,000 kg (88,000 lb) to a 400 km orbit at 28.00 degrees.

Status: Study 1988.
Payload: 40,000 kg (88,000 lb).
Apogee: 400 km (240 mi).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Shuttle The manned reusable space system which was designed to slash the cost of space transport and replace all expendable launch vehicles. It did neither, but did keep NASA in the manned space flight business for 30 years. More...
  • Winged In the beginning, nobody (except Jules Verne) thought anybody would be travelling to space and back in ballistic cannon balls. The only proper way for a space voyager to return to earth was at the controls of a real winged airplane. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA Langley American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. Langley, USA. More...

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