SUNNYVALE, Calif. (July 22, 2011)—The final journey of NASA's Space Shuttle program, which ends today, sees the end of a significant role for the company that supplied the polyurethane-insulated external tanks, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co.
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 and the thermal protection for the Space Shuttle itself.
At 154 feet long and 27.6 feet in diameter, the external tank 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.