On STS #1, I noticed the main fuel tank lacks the orange insulation found on all other Shuttle missions..why?

Was it not insulated, or did they use a different insulatuion on the first launch? Also, did the right side landing gear tire blow on landing? How many tires blew upon Shuttle landings? -Thanks!

5 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The insulation is still there, below the white paint. NASA found out, that painting it white did not really improve things, especially the formation of ice and debris, and that removing it allows lifting more payload into Orbit.

    No tire blew so far on a landing of the space shuttle. Even if it would happen, it would be different on the Shuttle as on an airliner, as the Shuttle has a more sophisticated autopilot. The shuttle can balance on just two wheels for during landing, reducing the damage, without leaving the runway, at least until speed dropped too low for the Delta wings to reduce the load on the damaged tire.

    But two Auxiliary Power Units, which provide hydraulic pressure to the Space Shuttle, caught fire and exploded during the landing of STS-9. But that did only cause small internal damage.

    They found out during the first landings on the Shuttle Landing Facility (the long runway in KSC), that the surface was to rough and increased the wear on the tires, resulting in the surface getting smoothed. Later flights also relied on the drag chute for slowing down, further reducing the loads on the tires.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Actually, the orange insulation IS there. They put white paint over it to make it look nicer. However, they decided the white paint added too much extra weight and decided not to paint it. Also, they were low on cash. Hope this helps.

    As for the tires, they are nitrogen filled tires that are incapable of blowing in high gravity. That would make Zero popped tires. Hope this helps as well.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, the tanks were initially painted white, but they realized the weight of the paint coat reduced available cargo capacity.

    The link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_externa... says:

    "The original ET is informally known as the Standard Weight Tank (SWT). The first two, used in STS-1 and STS-2, were painted white. As a weight-saving measure, Lockheed Martin ceased painting the external tanks beginning with STS-3, leaving only the clear primer over the now-trademark rust-colored insulation, saving approximately 272 kg/600 pounds of weight."

  • esker
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Weight. Turning the gasoline tank (there is in basic terms one in line with launch) right into a Thermos bottle would weigh greater, because of fact there would be a extensive section situation to atmospheric stress, so the tank would would desire to be very stable.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It was insulated, the insulation was a different colour.

    Afraid I don't know about the tires.

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