The Space Shuttle Scramble Squares® puzzle features the United States Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station, which is now under construction. Both children and adults make this puzzle among the top selling Scramble Squares® puzzles.
The Space Shuttle program was created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States of America for the purpose of providing routine access to space. Space Shuttles carry space labs into space and deploy, recover and repair automated space satellites and construct, staff and supply the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle flight system is comprised of three main components: the Orbiter that carries human and scientific payload, an external tank that contains the liquid lift off fuel used by the Orbiter’s main engines and two solid rocket boosters that assist the main rocket in exiting the Earth’s gravitational pull. The Orbiter and the solid rocket boosters are reusable, but the main external fuel tank is used up and jettisoned just before the Orbiter goes into orbit around the Earth. At the conclusion of its space mission, the Space Shuttle conducts maneuvers to cease its orbiting. It reenters the Earth’s atmosphere at a high angle, and when it reaches a low altitude, the Orbiter goes into horizontal flight for an airplane type of landing.
The complete Space Shuttle system is 184 feet long (56 meters), and the Orbiter is 122 feet long (37 meters) with a 57 foot wingspan (17 meters). The Orbiter’s cargo bay is 60 feet long (18 meters) and 15 feet (5 meters) in diameter. The Orbiter is traveling at approximately 3,000 miles per hour at the time it jettisons its solid fuel rockets at 24.6 nautical miles (45.6 km) above the Earth, achieves a speed of 25,666 feet per second (17,500 miles per hour) as it enters orbit around Earth at 150 nautical miles up (277.8 km) and lands at a speed of 184 to 196 knots (211-225 miles per hour). The Orbiter can orbit as high as 600 nautical miles from Earth and as low as 100 nautical miles (185 to 1,110 km). It carries a crew of up to seven, including its flight crew and its scientific and technical personnel.
According to NASA, a 2-week ground turnaround time is the goal for a Space Shuttle Orbiter. The normal Space Shuttle mission is about one week, but missions can last as long as a month. As of 1996, there were four Orbiters in the NASA’s fleet: Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery and Endeavour.