Space Transportation Systems

Space Transportation Systems (STS) are the systems and architectures that deliver payloads and humans to outer space. Learn about space shuttles, rockets and other spacecraft.

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How the Apollo Spacecraft Worked

The Apollo program was initiated with the goal of landing a man on the moon. What was the spacecraft that helped make this giant leap for mankind?


Why are space shuttle launches delayed so frequently?

From a distance, a space shuttle looks pretty sturdy. It's enormous and solid, and it can withstand extreme temperatures when it enters the Earth's atmosphere. But in some ways, a space shuttle is delicate.

How did Lockheed win NASA's Orion contract?

How did Lockheed win the Orion contract over the manned-space-experts Grumman and Boeing? Check out some of the expert speculation.

How the EZ-Rocket Works

But can a commercial spacecraft take off on its own from the ground, travel into outer space and land again on a runway? That's the goal of XCOR Aerospace, and it starts with the EZ-Rocket. In this article, we'll learn about the technology behind the EZ-Rocket and see how XCOR plans to expand on this technology in the future.

How the Delta IV Heavy Works

It's bigger, stronger, more efficient and more precise: The Delta IV Heavy is arguably the greatest rocket built to date. It can put 13 tons of satellite payload into its intended orbit with fuel to spare, and that's just the beginning.

How Solar Sail Technology Works

What is a solar sail? How can you use sunlight to move a spacecraft in outer space? In this article, HowStuffWorks will show you how solar sail technology works, take an in-depth look at the Cosmos-1 mission and find out what solar-sails mean for future space travel.

I've heard that Russia's Mir station will be brought down out of orbit and crashed to Earth soon. How will they do that?

How Space Shuttles Work

In its nearly 30-year history, the space shuttle program has seen exhilarating highs and devastating lows. Learn all about the space shuttle program.

How Space Stations Work

Imagine waking up in the morning, looking out your window and seeing the planet Earth below you. What would it be like to live in space? Find out all about the International Space Station.

How Solar Sails Work

What is a solar sail? How can you use sunlight to move a spacecraft in outer space? In this article, HowStuffWorks will show you how solar sail technology works, take an in-depth look at the Cosmos-1 mission and find out what solar-sails mean for future space travel.

At a drag race, I once saw a rocket car that was supposedly powered by spraying hydrogen peroxide on a silver mesh. The resultant reaction produced huge amounts of pure white smoke and apparently enough thrust to propel the car rapidly down the track. Does hydrogen peroxide really react with silver that way?