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NASA's shuttle and space stations


Unlike conventional rockets, the NASA space shuttle was designed to deliver its cargo into orbit and then to return to Earth again. As well as launching new satellites, the shuttle was used to fix broken satellites and to deliver new parts for large space stations, such as the International Space Station, ISS.



British astronaut, Tim Peake, is heading to space in November 2015



In November 2015, Major Tim Peake will blast off from Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan and begin a six-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS). The European Space Agency (ESA) mission will be a landmark moment for the UK. "It's a true privilege to be chosen for a mission on the ISS" said Peake, a former Apache helicopter pilot.


Image of the space shuttle endeavor over New ZealandHow did it deal with the problems of being heated up on re-entry into the atmosphere?


The underside of the space shuttle was covered in thousands of insulating tiles. These protect it from the heat caused by contact with the atmosphere as it descends. The temperature on the outside of the shuttle could reach 1,300°C, but the insulation kept the inside cool.

 The space shuttle Endeavor over New Zealand


It must be remembered that the process of going into space is still an adventure and astronauts are true explorers. Unfortunately, as with all exploration, it is a dangerous activity and things can go wrong. Two space shuttles have been destroyed in accidents.


The shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch in 1986 and the shuttle Columbia broke up when re-entering the atmosphere on 1st February 2003. It is thought that the insulating tiles might have been damaged. Sadly, in both cases all the members of the crew were killed.




Did you know? It takes the shuttle about 90 minutes to orbit the Earth...about the same time as a soccer match lasts!

Animation of a space shuttle launch




*OK **Tricky ***Brain Teaser
Question Quick Quiz! Answer




*OK **Tricky ***Brain Teaser
Question Quick Quiz! Answer

You can see more movies in our Gallery [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]

Here is a movie of some astronauts from the shuttle working up in space.


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