Mar 1, 2011

A Revolutionary Vehicle

Before I answer mylast blog post's quiz, ... what does STS-133 mean?
It means that it's the"Space Transportation Vehicle's 133rd launch".
Get it? It's the space shuttle, which is also the answer to the quiz.

It's been here from-well, let's put it this way- the STS-1 was in 1981, so this year is the 30th one for the space shuttle, and also happens to be the last.

The space shuttle was a revolutionary rocket when then, the first reusable spacecraft in the world. It's sort of like a shuttle bus to space.

But, there were a few problems. One of them is that, it takes too much to launch! One space shuttle launch costs around $450 million.(by the way, if you "bought" all the 3 seats on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, it would be just around $70 million. If it's bought, I remind you. Not cost.). There have been 2 tragedies with it too. Once whenChallenger failed to launch, and when Columbia burned up in the atmosphere because there was something wrong with the heat shields at the bottom of the spacecraft.
Which brings us back to this photo;
What's it doing?
The space shuttle always does this before it docks with the International Space Station.
While it's flipped around, the astronauts on the ISS take photos like crazy of it. It's to check that the heat shields(the black tiles) are okay, it doesn't have cracks or anything like that.
If they do, I don't really know, the people on the shuttle might get back with the Soyuz capsule that's always tethered to the ISS.

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