Space Shuttle Vocabulary
- Body Flap
- A control surface hinged to the lower section of the aft fuselage.
It is used during descent to control the motion of pitch.
- Cargo Bay
- The center of the orbiter's fuselage also called the payload
- Delta Wings
- A sweepback wing design that looks like a triangle from above.
- A control surface used once the returning Shuttle has entered
the atmosphere; it acts like a combination of an aircraft elevator
and aileron, controlling pitch and roll.
- Flight Deck
- Part of the crew compartment; the commander, pilot, missions
specialist, and one payload specialist sit here for launch and
- Forward Control Thrusters
- Small rocket engines that maneuver the orbiter in space. These
are located around the orbiter's nose.
- Main Landing Gear
- There are two main landing gears located under the orbiter's
belly, each with two tires.
- Main Propulsion Engine
- The three SSMEs (Space Shuttle Main Engines) are located on
the orbiter's aft end. The SSME is one of the most advanced rocket
engines ever built.
- Nose Landing Gear
- Landing gear assembly located under the orbiter's nose with
- Orbital Maneuvering System (OMS)
- Two OMS engines are mounted in external pods on each side of
the aft fuselage. These power the orbiter during orbital insertion
- Payload Doors
- Two curved cargo-bay doors located on the top part of the fuselage
and opened soon after reaching orbit.
- Reaction Control System (RCS)
- A set of engines located on each side of the aft fuselage that
are used to control the motions of roll, pitch and yaw when the
orbiter is maneuvering out of orbit and into reentry of the atmosphere.
- Split Rudder/Speed Brake
- A control surface located on the vertical stabilizer (tail section)
that splits apart vertically to increase drag and slow the aircraft
during descent and landing. When both sections are moved together,
it acts as a rudder and controls the motion of yaw.