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 launch The decision to go forward with development of system was made in 1974-1976 but the program slow to gear up. The Buran (snowstorm or orbiter was not launched atop the Energiya launch until 1988, although an Energiya test launch was successfully without the Buran in 1987. During the test flight, Buran flew two orbits without a and successfully returned to Earth. This turned out be the Buran's one and only flight. The was put on hold and then cancelled in

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