Space Shuttle Components . Space shuttles consists of three main components. Orbiter houses the crew. Large external fuel tank holds fuel for main engines and burns up in the atmosphere. Two solid rocket boosters the provide most of the shuttles life during the first two minutes .
Basics of Shuttle Launch First Stage Asent Second State Asent Orbit Landing
Commander Francis R. Scobee, Pilot Michael J. Smith, Mission Specialists Judith A. Resnik, Ellison S. Onizuka, Ronald E. McNair and Payload Specialists Gregory B. Jarvis and Sharon Christa McAuliffe.
The mission lasted 1 minute, 13 seconds
Miles Traveled: 18 miles
Just after liftoff, a strong puff of gray smoke was spurting from the right solid rocket booster. At approximately 37 seconds, Challenger encountered the first of several high-altitude wind shear conditions, which lasted until about 64 seconds. Then there was massive, almost explosive, burning of the hydrogen streaming from the failed tank bottom. At this point, while traveling at Mach 2 at an altitude of 46,000 feet, Challenger was totally enveloped in the explosive burn.