The Space Shuttle Program - Space Shuttle Program Organization
center jsc flight nasa
The Space Shuttle Program (SSP) is administered and operated by NASA, with the help of thousands of contract employees. Figure 4.8 shows the locations of key NASA and contractor facilities involved in the SSP. Strategic management of the program is handled at NASA's headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is where major decisions are made about future missions.
Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, is home to the operational offices of the program. This office administers the Space Flight Operations Contract. United
|Total civil service workforce||3,781||3,324||2,959||2,596||2,195||1,954||1,777||1,786||1,759||1,718|
|Total contractor workforce||26,310||24,214||22,387||21,029||17,281||16,700||16,291||16,065||16,253||15,744|
|*Because Johnson Space Center manages the Space Flight Operations Contract, all United Space Alliance employees are counted as working for Johnson.|
|SOURCE: "Figure 5.4-1. Space Shuttle Program Workforce," in Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report, Volume I, Part 2, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC, August 2003 [Online] http://www.nasa.gov/columbia/caib/PDFS/VOL1/PART02.PDF [accessed January 14, 2004]|
Space Alliance (a joint venture between the Boeing and Lockheed Martin corporations) performs day-to-day operation of the space shuttle program under this contract and employs more than 10,000 people to do so. Most of these people work at JSC, the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, and the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama. United Space Alliance has a subcontract with Boeing to support orbiter operations and modifications.
JSC also hosts the mission control center, astronaut training, and shuttle simulation facilities. KSC supplies the shuttle launch and landing facilities; maintains and overhauls the orbiters; packages components for the orbiter laboratories; and assembles, tests, and refurbishes motors for the solid rocket boosters (SRBs). Most of the contractor personnel working at KSC fall under the Space Flight Operations Contract administered at JSC.
Manufacturing contracts for the shuttle program are overseen by NASA at the MSFC. Major contractors and their products are:
- Boeing Human Spaceflight & Exploration-Rocketdyne—Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME)
- Pratt & Whitney—SSME Turbopumps
- Lockheed Martin—External Tank (ET) and Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) Panels
- ATK Thiokol Propulsion—Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM)
MSFC is also involved in the research and development of payloads that fly on the shuttles.
The shuttles' main engines and external tanks are tested at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The Dryden Flight Research Center is located at Edwards Air Force Base in California. This is the back-up landing site for the shuttle.
Other NASA Centers assist the SSP by developing or testing shuttle components or fuels at their facilities. The shuttle thermal protection system (TPS) is developed at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. The highly toxic fuels called hypergols that are used to run the orbiter's maneuvering system and reaction control system are tested at the White Sands Test Facility in New Mexico. The orbiter structure is tested in wind tunnels at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Table 4.2 is a table prepared in 2003 showing the total workforce dedicated to the SSP between 1993 and 2002. In 2002 there were 17,462 people working on the program. Nearly all (90 percent) were contractor employees. The vast majority of these people work for United Space Alliance under the Space Flight Operations Contract.