How to land Space Shuttles... from Space!

A very interesting video explaining how a Space Shuttle is landed.


This guy is a great presenter in a geeky kind of way. :slight_smile:

Btw: I manage to see 10,000 fpm in my Hornet approaches. I’m doing it right then, I guess :smiley:

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Very cool watching the hud cam at the end. Thanks for posting!

I already had the best teacher ever…


I watched them do that several times. The closest time, if you go to the video at the 14:30 mark, I was standing at one end of the causeway in the map in the upper right. It’s located inside CCAFS, so no one who wasn’t an employee was allowed there. We were by the old Titan IV pad, which has since been closed and retooled for SpaceX (the one where the rocket blew during fueling test).

There were 3 of us, and we stood and did a 360 as we watched the shuttle loop around us in that right turn. Caught sight of it right about where that green line starts as it was ~3 minutes to landing. Because of the turn, even though we were almost under it we saw it in a nice profile, not the belly. Then the sonic boom hit us. And I mean HIT us. Sucked the air right out of our lungs even though it was at 35k ft or so.

When it reached the 6 o’clock position we began to hear jet noise. The other 2 said “I can hear it!” and I replied “no, it’s a glider, it’s silent…”
I looked down and at about 500 ft flying SE to NW I spotted NASA’s chase plane skimming along guiding the shuttle in. I’d read about it but this was the one and only time I saw it, likely because it’s so low and slow and far from public viewing areas that it’s out of sight.

That was Mar 2002 I believe, the last time Columbia landed. :frowning:
I was also there Feb 2003 and saw its final launch. That was notable for the F-15s flying CAP because of the Israeli colonel on board. I watched one from my backyard doing AB turns as I live about 20 miles SSW from the Cape.
No one had any idea that something awful happened that day until 2 weeks later.