Amazing  Space Shuttle Facts

   Rocketdyne's Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSMEs) operates at greater temperature extremes than any mechanical system in common use today. The liquid hydrogen fuel is -423 degrees Fahrenheit, the second coldest liquid on Earth. When the hydrogen is burned with liquid oxygen, the temperature in the engine's combustion chamber reaches + 6000 degrees Fahrenheit - that's higher than the boiling point of Iron.
   The maximum equivalent horsepower developed by the three SSMEs is just over 37 million horsepower.
   The energy released by three of Rocketdyne's Space Shuttle Main Engines is equivalent to the output of 37 Hoover Dams.
   Although not much larger than an automobile engine, the SSME high-pressure fuel turbopump generates 100 horsepower for each pound of its weight, while an automobile engine generates about one-half horsepower for each pound of its weight.
   Even though Rocketdyne's SSME weighs one-seventh as much as a locomotive engine, its high-pressure fuel pump alone delivers as much horsepower as 28 locomotives, while its high-pressure oxidizer pump delivers the equivalent horsepower for 11 more.
   If water, instead of fuel, were pumped by the three Space Shuttle Main Engines, an average family-sized swimming pool could be drained in 25 seconds.
   The SSME high-pressure fuel turbopump main shaft rotates at 37,000 rpm compared to about 3,000 rpm for an automobile operating at 60 mph.
   The discharge pressure of an SSME high-pressure fuel turbopump could send a column of liquid hydrogen 36 miles in the air.
   The Space Shuttle flies about 200 miles (330 km) above the Earth's surface (equivalent to roughly half the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco). In contrast, geostationary (stationary with respect to the Earth's surface) communications satellites have to be lofted approximately 21,500 miles (35,800 km) above the Earth's surface, and the Apollo spacecraft were approximately 227,000 miles (378,000 km) above the Earth's surface when they reached the Moon.
   NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, launched in 1991 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, is the heaviest spacecraft ever deployed by a Space Shuttle.
   Each of the Space Shuttle's solid rocket boosters burns 5 tons of propellant per second.
   A Space Shuttle and its boosters ready for launch are the same height as the Statue of Liberty but weigh almost three times as much.
   The Space Shuttle main engine weighs 1/7th as much as a train engine, but delivers as much horsepower as 39 train engines.
   It only takes the Space Shuttle about 8 minutes to accelerate to its orbital speed of more than 17,000 miles per hour.


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