The Space Shuttle is a reusable, aerospace vehicle that takes off like a rocket,
maneuvers in orbit like a space craft, and lands like an airplane. It is launched into
Earth orbit to deploy various types of satellites and to conduct experiments in space. The
Shuttle has four major parts: the orbiter, the solid rocket booster (two of them), the
external tank, and the set of three Space Shuttle main engines in the rear of the orbiter.
Only the orbiter and the main engines go into the Earth orbit. The other parts are for
liftoff and powered flight. Experiments are conducted on each Shuttle flight which in some
way will help everyone out on Earth. These experiments are tested in space and the results
are brought back to earth and put to use.
Astronauts living in space do most of the same things they would do on Earth. They eat,
sleep, and attend to personal hygiene everyday. Eating and sleeping in space is different
because of "weightlessness." The astronauts have to be careful with their food
or it will float away. The different forms of food taken on a shuttle mission include
Dehydrated (freeze-dried), thermostabilized cans and sealed pouches, intermediate
moisture, natural form, and fresh. Just by adding hot or cold water an astronaut can enjoy
a delicious chicken dinner. When sleeping an astronaut must have themselves strapped to
their bed. If not, they will float away because there is no gravity in space. Also,
Astronauts brush their teeth, take sponge baths, and go to the bathroom in space. The
waste is stored in a container and brought back to Earth for proper disposal. As you can
see, Astronauts conduct themselves exactly as we do on Earth on a day to day basics.
With the growing concern for the environment, recycling has become a big part of our
lives. Recycling is the reprocessing of certain products. These products include: plastic,
glass, paper and metal (mostly aluminum). Recycling impacts technology, society, and the
environment in every day life.
During this activity each student will construct a space shuttle by reusing everyday
products. Through this lesson the students will gain a knowledge of the importance of
recycling and the terminology, concepts, and components of a space shuttle.
Materials: (For one project)