Shuttles are each a partially reusable launch system composed of three main assemblies: the reusable Orbiter Vehicle (OV), the expendable External Tank (ET), and the two partially-reusable Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs).


The tank and boosters are jettisoned during ascent; only the orbiter goes into orbit. The vehicle is launched vertically like a conventional rocket, and the orbiter glides to a horizontal landing, after which it is refurbished for reuse.

How NASA transport and assemble space shuttle? It is a huge task! Click and have a look how it is done.