Sunnyvale, California -- The final journey of NASA's Space Shuttle programme, which ends tomorrow, 20 July 2010, sees the end of a significant role for the company that supplied the polyurethane-insulated external tanks, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. (LMSSC).
As well as providing important shuttle systems that were a part of every flight, the company said it has had payloads on at least 30 missions, including spacecraft, satellites, instruments, telescopes, experiments, and various components.
Lockheed Martin's systems for every space shuttle mission included the External Tank (ET) and the thermal protection for the Space Shuttle itself.
At 154 ft long and 27.6 ft in diameter, the ET is the largest element of the Space Shuttle and the structural backbone of the system. It has a propellant capacity of 537 000 gallons (1.6 million pounds) of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel that power the Space Shuttle's main engines.
"NASA's space shuttle has transformed Earth orbit from a frontier to a workspace-a place where humans live, build and create, where science thrives, where nations collaborate daily. For these extraordinary achievements, we salute the people on the ground and in space who have devoted their lives to this engineering marvel," said Joanne Maguire, executive vice president of LMSSC, in a company statement.
"You have made history and laid the foundation for new voyages of discovery. We take enormous pride in being your partner, and look forward to working side by side to take America to new frontiers in space."
PIC: ET 138 used for the last Space Shuttle mission to the International Space Station, which took off 8 July and is due to return to earth 20 July.