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Transportation
Shuttle to the Stars



Shuttle to the Stars
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 7 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.33

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    orbiter, solid-rocket, halted, reenters, liftoff, launched, launches, spacecraft, reusable, shortly, killing, reentry, communication, http, pointed, shuttle
     content words:    United States, Orbiting Maneuvering System, Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, On January


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Shuttle to the Stars
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     One of NASA's most famous creations is the space shuttle. A space shuttle is a reusable United States space vehicle. Space shuttles have a winged orbiter , two solid-rocket boosters, and an external tank. The winged orbiter is the part of the shuttle that orbits in space and lands on earth like a glider. All space shuttles are launched from earth in a vertical position like a rocket.
 
2     The winged orbiter has three rocket engines. These engines provide 1,125,000 pounds of thrust. The external tanks hold the liquid fuel. The rocket boosters use up their solid fuel after about 2 minutes of flight. The boosters alone give the shuttle 5,200,000 pounds of thrust during the liftoff. Once the booster fuel is used up, the boosters separate from the shuttle. As the boosters fall toward earth, parachutes are released. This allows the boosters to fall slowly towards the earth's oceans where they can be recovered.
 
3     The shuttle or orbiter continues on its way with the external tank. Eight minutes after liftoff, the external tank is emptied. This also separates from the orbiter and falls back to earth. The external tank usually burns up as it reenters the earth's atmosphere. Before entering orbit, the space shuttle burns its two Orbiting Maneuvering System (OMS) engines for a short period. This allows the shuttle to get into its horizontal orbiting position. Depending on the size of its crew, space shuttles can remain in orbit up to thirty days.

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