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Orbiter/External Tank Separation System

When the external tank separates from the orbiter, several components act at once for a clean disconnect.

17-inch Disconnect
Mated pairs of disconnects contain valves that allow propellant to flow until time for ET separation.

External Tank Separation System
The external tank is separated from the orbiter at three structural attach points.

Orbiter Umbilical Doors
After external tank jettison, doors close the umbilical cavities.

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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