System/Reaction Control System Pods
maneuvering system/reaction control system left- and right-hand
pods are attached to the upper aft fuselage left and right sides.
Each pod is fabricated primarily of graphite epoxy composite and
aluminum. Each pod is 21.8 feet long and 11.37 feet wide at its
aft end and 8.41 feet wide at its forward end, with a surface area
of approximately 435 square feet. Each pod is divided into two compartments:
the OMS and the RCS housings. Each pod houses all the OMS and RCS
propulsion components and is attached to the aft fuselage with 11
bolts. The pod skin panels are graphite epoxy honeycomb sandwich.
The forward and aft bulkhead aft tank support bulkhead and floor
truss beam are machined aluminum 2124. The centerline beam is 2024
aluminum sheet with titanium stiffeners and graphite epoxy frames.
The OMS thrust structure is conventional 2124 aluminum construction.
The cross braces are aluminum tubing, and the attach fittings at
the forward and aft fittings are 2124 aluminum. The intermediate
fittings are corrosion-resistant steel. The RCS housing, which attaches
to the OMS pod structure, contains the RCS thrusters and associated
propellant feed lines. The RCS housing is constructed of aluminum
sheet metal, including flat outer skins. The curved outer skin panels
are graphite epoxy honeycomb sandwich. Twenty-four doors in the
skins provide access to the OMS and RCS and attach points.
The two graphite
epoxy pods per spacecraft reduce the weight by 10 percent, approximately
450 pounds. The pods will withstand 162-decibel acoustic noise and
a temperature range from minus 170º to plus 135º F.
areas of the OMS/RCS pods are covered with a reusable thermal protection
system, and a pressure and thermal seal is installed at the OMS/RCS
pod aft fuselage interface. Thermal barriers are installed, and
they interface with the RCS thrusters and reusable thermal protection