Space Shuttle Columbia Specifications

Space Shuttle Columbia was Known as OV-102, Columbia was the first ever reusable spacecraft.  It was also the first to carry large satellites both to and from orbit. It launches like a rocket, maneuvers in Earth orbit like a spacecraft, and finally lands back on Earth like an airplane. Like other orbiters such as the Discovery, Atlantic, and Endeavor that are currently in operation, it is designed to fly at least 100 missions.

The Columbia has three main parts. The first is the Orbiter, which contains the crew. The orbiter is commonly referred to as the space shuttle. On Columbia, the size of the crew can vary between 6 to 8 astronauts. The second part is the external tank that holds the fuel for the main engines. The final part of the shuttle are the two solid rocket boosters which lift the Shuttle during the first two minutes of flight to an altitude of 140,000 feet. Every part except the external fuel tank are designed to be reused.

The orbiter is made many from aluminium alloy, while the engine thrust structure is made from titanium alloy. Electrical power is provided by three hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells that also provide drinkable water to its crew. Interestingly, the windows of the orbiter are tinted using the same ink that is used to make American banknotes and the agreed typeface used on the orbiter was Helvetica.

Columbia has a length of 122 feet, a height of 58 feet, and a wingspan of 78 feet. It is the heaviest orbiter to date, weighing 178,000 pounds. The maximum speed of Columbia is 17,000 mph. The total miles flown is equivalent to the distance from Earth to Venus.

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