A new launch date for STS-134, Space Shuttle Endeavour has been set for May 16, 2011. Endeavour’s original launch was set for April 29, but was scrubbed due to an electrical problem in what is called the Load Control Assembly-2 (LCA-2). This piece of equipment distributes power to various systems in the Shuttle and is believed to have caused fuel line heaters for Endeavour’s auxiliary power unit-1 (APU-1) to fail.
The launch and return of NASA space shuttle Discovery mission STS-13, which launched on February 24th, 2011 and made its return landing on March 9th, 2011, marked the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. But what does the end of the space shuttle program mean? What will be its successor?
Most of us have seen a space shuttle blast off into space. Using massive amounts of rocket fuel and jet propulsion, it lifts off through Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space. During lift-off, it loses some of its booster rockets as part of the process, reducing the amount of thrust it has at its disposal. At the end of its mission, the spacecraft re-enters Earth’s atmosphere, with the goal being a safe landing and the safe return of the crew aboard. Yet, without having the engines that a typical passenger jet would have or the fuel to power them once the shuttle enters the atmosphere, the space shuttle seems as though it would be difficult to control and steer during its landing. How does a space shuttle land safely?