Structural integrity of the Space Shuttle orbiter vehicle is assured primarily through analysis. The analysis is supplemented by tests intended to validate analysis methods or, in some cases, to provide direct demonstration of structural capability to withstand the design environments. The paper summarizes the Shuttle’s structural certification requirements and the major test efforts supporting this certification. A more detailed examination of the orbiter material control land fracture control programs is presented as efficient and constructive components of a viable structural integrity plane.

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