The paper is aimed to present and focus on the Space Shuttle flight path which is considered as the stages of the flight missions of the craft.
The Space Shuttle flight path is composed of different stages. The first stage is taking off which can be compared to a rocket. The second stage is orbiting like a satellite. The last stage then is going back to Earth and landing like a glider. These routine flights are important for different purposes such as maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station. Other missions are also related to military, scientific and commercial purposes (Barrett, 1985; Dwiggins, 1985).
The main system is officially referred to as Space Transportation System (STS). It is composed of the shuttle, the launch boosters and other components. The flight path of the Space Shuttle is composed of the launch, the SRB separation, fuel tank separation, orbit, retrofire, entry, approach and landing. These stages of the flight path are enabled by the different components such as the solid rocket boosters (SRB), the external fuel tank (ET), the orbiter or the shuttle itself and the three main engines integral to the orbiter (Barrett, 1985; Dwiggins, 1985; Freudenrich, 2001).
The typical routine flight path of the Space shuttle starts with getting into orbit which is composed of the launch the ascent and the orbital maneuvering burn. The said stage is followed by the orbit phase when the main objectives of the mission are undertaken such as repair and maintenance of the different spacecrafts in orbit and the delivery of crews and supplies needed. After a few days to a maximum of 14 days in orbit, the Space Shuttle will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere again. Landing is the last stage of the mission wherein the aircraft requires the glider-like capability to be able to stay intact (Freudenrich, 2001).
Launching a Space Shuttle can be considered as one of the most challenging