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Introduction

The InSight lander with solar panels deployed in a cleanroom

Engineering is the application of knowledge in the form of science, mathematics, and empirical evidence, to the innovation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of structures, machines, materials, software, devices, systems, processes, and organizations. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

The term engineering is derived from the Latin ingenium, meaning "cleverness" and ingeniare, meaning "to contrive, devise".

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Alpha calutron tank.jpg
A calutron is a mass spectrometer originally designed and used for separating the isotopes of uranium. It was developed by Ernest O. Lawrence during the Manhattan Project and was based on his earlier invention, the cyclotron. Its name was derived from California University Cyclotron, in tribute to Lawrence's institution, the University of California, where it was invented. Calutrons were used in the industrial-scale Y-12 uranium enrichment plant at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The enriched uranium produced was used in the Little Boy atomic bomb that was detonated over Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

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The newly redesigned External Tank turns the corner of the Launch Complex 39 Area Turn Basin parking area on its way to the Vehicle Assembly Building, seen at right.
Credit: NASA

A Space Shuttle External Tank (ET) was the component of the Space Shuttle launch vehicle that contained the liquid hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen oxidizer. During lift-off and ascent it supplied the fuel and oxidizer under pressure to the three Space Shuttle Main Engines (SSME) in the orbiter. The ET was jettisoned just over 10 seconds after MECO (Main Engine Cut Off), where the SSMEs were shut down, and re-entered the Earth's atmosphere. Unlike the Solid Rocket Boosters, external tanks were not re-used. They broke up before impact in the Indian Ocean (or Pacific Ocean in the case of direct-insertion launch trajectories), away from shipping lanes and were not recovered.

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