STS's mains characteristics

Characteristic Value
Mass of STS at the beginning, t 2046
Thrust at launch, tf 3076
Specification of the Orbiter
Mass at launch, t 109
Maximum mass at landing, t 96
Payload mass, t 20
Volume of the crew cabine, m³ 71
Dimensional specifications
Length, m 34.24
Wingspan, m 23.79
Height, m 17.25
Length of the payload bay, m 18.3
Diameter of the payload bay, m 4.6
Quantity of flight 100
Mass of the structure, t 68.586
Heat shield tiles, number 24000
Circular work orbit, km 185 to 1000
Crew 7
Total mass of the 1st stage, t 1180
Mass of solid fuel, t 950
Pulverulent aluminium powder (combustible), % 16
Perchlorate of ammonium (combustive), % 69.6
Iron oxyde powder (catalyst), % 0.4
Polybutadiene Acrylonitrile or Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (polymer), % 12
Epoxy curring agent (catalyst), % 2
Total mass of the 2nd stage, t 757
Mass of oxygen, t ~600
Mass of hydrogen, t ~100
Engine of the 2nd stage (SSME)
Thrust on the sea level (100% thrust), tf 170
Thrust in vacuum (100% thrust), tf 213
Dimensional specifications of the STS
Height, m 56.14
Width, m 23.79
Dimensional specifications of the 1st stage
Height, m 45.6
Diameter, m 3.71
Dimensional specifications of the external tank
Height, m 46.9
Diameter, m 8.4
1st stage, flight 20
2nd stage (external tank), flight 100 (1)
Azimuth of launch, ° 35-120
Minimal duration between 2 consecutive flights, days 25

The former Soviet Union's analogue was the Energiya-Buran system. The decision to go forward with of this system was made in 1974-1976 the program was slow to gear up. Buran (snowstorm or blizzard) orbiter was not atop the Energiya launch vehicle until 1988, an Energiya test launch was conducted successfully the Buran in 1987. During the 1988 flight, Buran flew two orbits without a and successfully returned to Earth. This turned to be the Buran's one and only The program was put on hold and cancelled in 1993.

Beyond appearances, however, there are several important technical between the two Shuttle systems. Perhaps the significant is that the U.S. Shuttle was intended to carry people into space but its only flight, the Buran flew without crew, although it was designed to accommodate crews as well. At one level, clearly U.S. Shuttle was designed as a follow-on to the Apollo and Skylab projects that send humans aloft on a routine basis. Tom Wolfe described in The Right Stuff, U.S. and NASA aerospace cultures were dominated by pilots and then by astronauts, so might say that flying people, not just into space was always a priority. This still true today, as NASA's human spaceflight on Shuttle and the International Space Station the public's imagination and pave the way and budgetarily for robotic spacecraft missions, ground-based and even aeronautics.