National Aeronautics andSpace Administration
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Alabama 35812
N A S A F a c t s
Returning the Space Shuttle to ﬂight is the ﬁrststep in realizing the Vision for Space Exploration,which calls for a stepping stone strategy of humanand robotic missions to achieve new explorationgoals. NASA fuels discoveries that make the worldsmarter, healthier and safer. The Shuttle will beused to complete assembly of the InternationalSpace Station, a vital research platform for humanendurance in space and a test bed for technologiesand techniques that will enable longer journeys tothe Moon, Mars and beyond.When the Space Shuttle returns to ﬂight, NASA willhave video cameras on the vehicle to help assessthe performance of the Shuttle’s Thermal ProtectionSystem—a combination of materials and technolo-gies that work together to protect the spacecraftand its occupants. These cameras will supple-ment ground-based imagery by providingviews of the Orbiter’s underside and theExternal Tank until the tank separates fromthe Shuttle—approximately 8.5 minutesafter launch.Three cameras—one on the External Tankand one on each of the two Solid RocketBoosters—will ﬂy on the Space Shuttle as itreturns to ﬂight on STS-114.During launch, the External Tank camera willprovide a live video feed while the video fromthe cameras on the Solid Rocket Boosters will beavailable for review after the Boosters are retrievedand returned to Cape Canaveral, Fla.—approxi-mately two to three days after launch.
External Tank Camera
The External Tank will ﬂy with a Sony XC-999 videocamera—the same type of camera that ﬂew on theSTS-112 mission in October 2002. The camerawill be mounted inside the tank’s liquid oxygenfeedline fairing, a metal covering that protects thearea where the fuel feedline penetrates the inter-tank—the structure near the center of the ExternalTank that attaches the liquid hydrogen tank to theliquid oxygen tank. From this location, the 3.5 mmlens camera will provide a ﬁeld of view of about 100degrees, offering a look at the vicinity of the tank’sbipod attachment area, a portion of the ExternalTank where the liquid hydrogen tank and intertankﬂange area are adjoined, and a portion of the bottomside of the Orbiter.
Return to Flight Focus Area
Space Shuttle External Tank andSolid Rocket Booster Camera Systems