Immunology

Answering questions about effects of microgravity on human body

When the space shuttle Atlantis touched down in the summer of 2011 at Cape Canaveral, closing the book on the U.S. shuttle program, a team of U.S. Army researchers stood at the ready, eager to get their gloved hands on a ...

Medical research

Bone loss prevention experiment on the last space shuttle flight

Researchers in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill/North Carolina State University Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering will be at the Kennedy Space Center for the last space shuttle launch of the NASA program ...

Other

Giffords awake, communicates after skull surgery

(AP) -- A day after surgery to repair her skull, Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' doctor has dubbed her "gorgeous Gabby," encouraged by how she looks and is communicating after an operation considered a major milestone in ...

Other

Houston doctors say Giffords can attend launch

(AP) -- Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is set to reach an important milestone this week when she ventures from her Houston rehabilitation hospital for the first time to watch her astronaut husband rocket into space ...

Space Shuttle

NASA's Space Shuttle, officially named the Space Transportation System (STS), is the spacecraft currently used by the United States government for its human spaceflight missions and is scheduled to be retired from service in 2010. At launch, it consists of a rust-colored external tank (ET), two white, slender Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs), and the orbiter, which is a winged spaceplane in the narrowest sense.

The orbiter carries astronauts and payload such as satellites or space station parts into low earth orbit, into the Earth's upper atmosphere or thermosphere. Usually, five to seven crew members ride in the orbiter. The payload capacity is 22,700 kilograms (50,000 lb). When the orbiter's mission is complete it fires its Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS) thrusters to drop out of orbit and re-enters the lower atmosphere. During the descent, the shuttle orbiter decelerates from hypersonic speed primarily by aerobraking and then for the landing phase it acts as a glider, making a completely unpowered (deadstick) landing.

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