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 the Energiya-Buran launch system. decision to go forward development of this system made in 1974-1976 but program was slow to up. The Buran (snowstorm blizzard) orbiter was not atop the Energiya launch until 1988, although an test launch was conducted without the Buran in During the 1988 test Buran flew two orbits a crew and successfully to Earth. This turned to be the Buran's and only flight. The was put on hold then cancelled in 1993.

Beyond appearances, however, there are important technical differences between two Shuttle systems. Perhaps most significant is that U.S. Shuttle was always to carry people into but on its only the Buran flew without crew, although it was to accommodate human crews well. At one level, the U.S. Shuttle was as a follow-on program the Apollo and Skylab that would send humans on a routine basis. Tom Wolfe described in Right Stuff, the U.S. NASA aerospace cultures were first by pilots and by astronauts, so some say that flying people, just payloads, into space always a priority. This still true today, as human spaceflight efforts on and the International Space spark the public's imagination pave the way politically budgetarily for robotic spacecraft ground-based astronomy, and even