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Annotated captions of Extreme Machines: Space Shuttle Rockets in English

Last Modified By Time Content
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Designed to last for 55 flights, the tree main engines built into the Orbiter

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are the only reusable liquid rockets ever built.

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Compact and light weight, they are the most powerful and sophisticated rocket engines of their size.

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"These engines are extremely powerful. Of course, they need to be powerful if you are going to kick an Orbiter into the lowest orbit in 8,5 minutes".

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Fueled by a mixture of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, each engine develops over 12 million horse power.

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More power than 64 thousand car engines.

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To achieve this power they must operate at extremes of temperature and pressure.

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"When we ignite these engines, what you're seeing is probably one of the most dramatic cold starts of engines in the world".

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Prior to ignition, this engine is literally frozen by liquid hydrogen.

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As the engine fires, its temperature instantly jumps from below zero to 6,000 degrees.

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And reaches full power in just 1000th of a second.

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But these rockets provide only one quarter of the shuttle's total thrust.

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Just feet away from the astronauts cabin are the most powerful rockets in the world, the solid rocket boosters.

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Standing as high as the Washington Monument, they are loaded with 500 tons of dry rocket fuel.

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In less than 2 minutes they rocket the shuttle to an altitude of 30 miles

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at nine times the speed of sound.