space shuttle at takeoff
On takeoff, the space shuttle is made up of an orbiter, two rockets and an external fuel tank.
The only part of the shuttle to fly in orbit; transports 13 tons of material and five to seven astronauts.
The end portion of a rocket from which combustion gases escape, thereby creating the thrust needed to propel the craft.
solid rocket booster
Solid-fuel thruster that provides most of the lift during the first few minutes of flight, after which it separates.
Slows the rocket’s fall after it separates from the space shuttle some two minutes after takeoff.
external fuel tank
Contains the liquid fuel (oxygen and hydrogen) that supplies the three engines of the orbiter tail.