# What is the fuel efficiency of the space shuttle in miles per gallon and km per liter?

The space shuttle uses a combination of liquid of oxygen, liquid hydrogen and solid rocket propellant as well as hypergolic fuels once on orbit so a direct comparison doesn't really apply, but if we must...

The 3 SSME's and 2 SRBs are used during launch and nearly all that fuel is used to overcome Earth's gravity, bringing the shuttle the 17,500+ MPH speed needed to orbit the Earth. Additionally, the shuttle consumed hypergolic fuel and an oxidizer in the Orbital Maneuvering Subsystem (OMS), Reaction Control System (RCS), and Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Hypergolic fuel ignites instantly when combined with an oxidizer without the need for a spark or other ignition source making it a very useful fuel in space. The APU is turned on before launch and provides power for all shuttle systems and is not turned off until after landing.

sooooo.....

Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) consume:

Liquid Oxygen: 143,060 gal

Liquid Hydrogen: 383,066 gal

Solid Rockets Boosters (SRB) consume:

2,200,000 lbs of solid fuel

The OMS, RCS and APU consume:

29,730 lbs of Oxydizer (nitrogen tetroxide)

18,020 lbs of Hypergolic fuel

Space Shuttle missions travel between 1.7 and 3 million miles depending on the mission.

This gives us between

3.2 miles per gallon of liquid fuel

0.8 miles per pound of solid fuel

53.8 miles per pound of hypergolic fuel

and

5.7 miles per gallon of liquid fuel

1.3 miles per pound of solid fuel

95 miles per pound of hypergolic fuel

depending on the mission duration

or in metric equivalents, with a fair amount of rounding error:

1.4 km per liter of liquid fuel

2.84 km per kg of solid fuel

190.9 km per kg of hypergolic fuel

and

2.42 km per liter of liquid fuel

4.6 km per kg of solid fuel

337.1 km per kg of hypergolic fuel

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