All About The NASA Shuttle Launch Schedules

Ever wonder how the NASA makes their launch schedules of their spacecrafts?

What are the preliminary factors and considerations that NASA must take into account before one of their space shuttles go on space?

The NASA Shuttle launch schedules involve numerous important aspects that determine whether a space mission will take place or rescheduled or canceled altogether. Here are the essential elements that should be considered whenever a space launch is to transpire: the rocket that will be used to carry the spacecraft into space, the payloads or cargo that provide the particular names to the missions, the time and date of the launch, and the area or the launch of the shuttle.

Nasa ShuttleCredit: Flickr - thebadastronomer

Any one of the elements mentioned above are key features whether a space mission will take place or not. That is why NASA Shuttle launch schedules frequently change. When a problem occurs regarding the payload, the rocket, the launch pad, the communications, the weather or the timing, a scheduled space launch will not push through or the launch window will be adjusted.

Other Factors

Another factor that will influence one of the NASA Shuttle launch schedules is the launch support range. Support agencies like the United States Air Force, the Western Test Range and the Eastern Test Range should be available to manage the launch because they are responsible in tracking the radar, the vehicle’s telemetry and other vital data during the flight to space.

Nasa BuildingCredit: Flickr - Rajiv Patel

In order to better understand the complexities of NASA Shuttle launch schedules you should understand some of the essential terms and ideas that constitute the scheduling of these space launches.

First thing, you should understand that every mission is provided with a name that matches the objective of that particular space mission. For instance, one of the scheduled flights for the year 2012 involves a Taurus II test flight under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services of NASA in agreement with the certain company. Thus, the mission’s name is called Orbital Services Corporation. Even if situations change and thus, require a different order launch the mission’s name will not change.

Other terms that you should take note of are the launch window and the launch vehicle. The launch vehicle is simply the rocket that will carry the cargo or payload toward a particular destination into space. On the other hand, the launch window denotes the time period when the space vehicle is allowed to be launched. It generally comprises somewhere from a second to a few hours. NASA determines the launch window by considering the orbital requirements, destination of the mission, the availability of the range support and other specific requirements.

In conclusion, NASA Shuttle launch schedules only list all the space missions in which NASA is the agency undertaking the launch or the partner of another agency or institution.