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he propellant mixture in each SRB motor consists of ammonium perchlorate (oxidizer, 69.6% by weight), aluminum (fuel, 16%), iron oxide (a catalyst, 0.4%), a polymer (such as PBAN or HTPB, serving as a binder that holds the mixture together and acting as secondary fuel, 12.04%), and an epoxy curing agent (1.96%). This propellant is commonly referred to asAmmonium Perchlorate Composite Propellant, or simply APCP. This mixture develops a specific impulse of 242 seconds at sea level or 268 seconds in a vacuum.
Exhaust from the main engines of NASA’s space shuttle, which is about 97 percent water vapor, can travel to the Arctic in the Earth’s thermosphere where it forms ice to create some of the Earth’s highest clouds that literally shine at night, according to a new study led by the Naval Research Laboratory and jointly funded by NASA and the Office of Naval Research.
About half of the water vapor exhaust from the shuttle’s main fuel tank is injected into the thermosphere, typically at altitudes of 64 to 71 miles