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 launch system. The decision to go with development of this system was in 1974-1976 but the program was to gear up. The Buran (snowstorm blizzard) orbiter was not launched atop Energiya launch vehicle until 1988, although Energiya test launch was conducted successfully the Buran in 1987. During the test flight, Buran flew two orbits a crew and successfully returned to This turned out to be the one and only flight. The program put on hold and then cancelled 1993.

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