The Shuttle each had three Main Engines that were fired up on the words “Go at Throttle Up” after the booster engines had been exhausted and discarded. These remarkably complex machines, which are profiled in an extensive photographic post below (scan down and root around), have 50,000 parts and in 135 flights never failed.
With the shuttle program ended, the 14 remaining Main Engines will be placed in storage in Mississippi and, when they are trucked out of the KSC Space Shuttle Main Engine Processing Facility in Florida, the engines will likely not be seen again for a decade or more.
For that reason NASA public relations personnel in Florida worked hard in December 2011 to get media access to the SSMEPF before the engines began to be shipped.
This diagram of the design of the Main Engines, shown here only in part, hangs in the SSMEPF office. Copies are also on work tables in the bay areas where the engines were serviced.
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