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Recent Shuttle Launch from Unusual Angles
July 9, 2006 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Recent Shuttle Launch from Unusual Angles
+ Right forward Solid Rocket Booster camera (Windows media)
+ Right aft Solid Rocket Booster camera (Windows media)
+ Left aft Solid Rocket Booster camera (13.7 Mb Quicktime movie)
+ Left forward Solid Rocket Booster camera (13.6 Mb Quicktime movie)
+ Separation composite view (10 Mb Quicktime movie)
posted by crunchland (41 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Incredible footage. I know the cameras are for safety reasons, but the extra eye candy was worth my tax dollars, if you ask me. Even though the Shuttle is aging technology, it is still an amazing, graceful piece of engineering.
posted by fatbobsmith at 5:33 PM on July 9, 2006


That was cool.
posted by david1016 at 5:39 PM on July 9, 2006


Whoa! That view from the left aft solid rocket booster is weird and wonderful. Great finish!
posted by persona non grata at 6:06 PM on July 9, 2006


You can see the foam chunks fly off on that left booster cam.
posted by IronLizard at 6:12 PM on July 9, 2006


Aging is right. "You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought."
posted by yeti at 6:16 PM on July 9, 2006


(sorry for the clich├ęd reference, but looking at the underside of the shuttle for two minutes left me with no alternative).

I only watched the left aft video, most of which is ho hum... until 122 seconds. theeeeeres the money shot. beats pornotube.
posted by yeti at 6:28 PM on July 9, 2006


I just watched the first one...very cool, indeed. When I've time I'm gonna watch the rest. Thanks!
posted by zardoz at 6:29 PM on July 9, 2006


Ya know, you can have whatever opinion you want about the space program, or manned space travel in general. But you have to take a moment, think about the fact that every so often a half dozen people strap themselves into a massive bomb (made by the lowest bidder) and use that device to leave the planet!

That's simply awesome.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:29 PM on July 9, 2006


That's just amazing.
posted by brundlefly at 6:44 PM on July 9, 2006


As once an aspiring astronaut, I'm in complete agreement.
posted by yeti at 6:44 PM on July 9, 2006


I only watched the left aft video, most of which is ho hum... until 122 seconds. theeeeeres the money shot. beats pornotube.

Hehe. I concur completely. It doesn't even look real when it separates.
posted by smackfu at 6:56 PM on July 9, 2006


That's real..... cool. Wow. Thanks.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 7:09 PM on July 9, 2006


On the right-forward camera, you can actually watch the booster separate, spin through space, and eventually splash down into the sea. It's like watching a whole little solid booster rocket lifetime -- I'm so proud of you, little rocket that did!
posted by jantastic at 7:26 PM on July 9, 2006


Space has got to be my favorite thing; getting there may be even better.
posted by Jeff_Larson at 7:38 PM on July 9, 2006


Why was there never a live video of the astronauts in the cockpit?
I thought it would be cool to see their facial expressions, and to see if anyone puked up.

Why no video of them?
posted by Balisong at 7:53 PM on July 9, 2006


Why no video of them?

Oh! In case they blew up.. of course.
posted by Balisong at 7:56 PM on July 9, 2006


The live launch featured a camera mounted on the big liquid fuel tank, looking back and up toward the belly of the shuttle. The view when the two of them separated was incredible. Truly like something out of a sci-fi flick.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:58 PM on July 9, 2006


Hoekstra's Threat
posted by homunculus at 8:00 PM on July 9, 2006


Oops. Wrong thread, never mind.
posted by homunculus at 8:02 PM on July 9, 2006


wonderful stuff, thanks for pointing it out. i love how you can see the shadow of its own smoke trail in the left forward SRB cam.

from watching previous shuttle launches, i seem to recall that the shuttle pitches over on its back pretty quickly so that it can start heading downrange ASAP. here it just seems to go straight...up? or is it really heading downrange and that's just an optical illusion?
posted by the painkiller at 8:31 PM on July 9, 2006


Why was there never a live video of the astronauts in the cockpit?

There has been -- here are some clips from STS-92. They're not as interesting as you'd expect -- the crew basically sits tight there, and the view out the window is tiny.

Here's a slightly better one from STS-105 (mov).

There's video floating out there e.g. from SpaceFlightNow showing launch ride-along footage, but it's for subscribers only (at their site).
posted by dhartung at 8:50 PM on July 9, 2006


So wonderful, thanks for posting.
posted by kokogiak at 9:08 PM on July 9, 2006


excellent, awe-inspiring post, crunchie.
posted by moonbird at 9:26 PM on July 9, 2006


painkiller, in several of the angles you can tell the shuttle's flipping over almost immediately after launch by watching the shadows on the shuttle and boosters.

What I want to know is how in the world they stabilize those cameras!!

Great post.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:27 PM on July 9, 2006


The one with the splashdown is great. There's like five minutes of it just bobbing along at the end.
posted by smackfu at 9:41 PM on July 9, 2006


The shuttles flip pretty early. It's just part of the general arch they take up.

Living so far away now, I really miss having not seen this launch. Some of my fondest childhood memories are sitting on Ponte Vedra Beach (just south of Jacksonville) with my father watching nightlaunches and waiting for the sound to make it up the beach to us and shake the windows of the clubhouse.

As a college student, we used to hand-roll cigarettes and watch the shuttle launch from across the Indian River in Titusville. I can tell you there is nothing more impressive than watching a $300m burn in 8 minutes. I recall once watching the sonic boom of the launch crossing over the top of the water.

One of the coolest we saw was a sunset launch...

posted by trinarian at 9:57 PM on July 9, 2006


IronLizard: You can see the foam chunks fly off on that left booster cam.

I'm more inclined to think it's ice coming off the nose, but IANARocketScientist.

In any case, the question is moot because of course it's all fake. ;-)

Does anyone have a link to the fuel tank cam? It would be pretty impressive to watch it separate. Even better would be to see the burn-up (or the beginnings of it).
posted by simra at 10:18 PM on July 9, 2006


More videos are on the NASA - STS-121 Video Collection page, including the fuel tank cam. Different videos are on the main shuttle page and the NASA Shuttle multimedia archive page.

Can you tell I have been watching these all week with my four-year-old? Thanks for the links, crunchland--I can't wait to show them to my son.
posted by bevedog at 10:37 PM on July 9, 2006


Excellent space hardware porn.
posted by marvin at 11:13 PM on July 9, 2006


Every time I wonder why we waste time, effort and money on the shuttle, when there are much better ways of exploring the universe, I see something like this and think... "Oh, yeah! It just looks so damn cool!"
posted by brundlefly at 12:17 AM on July 10, 2006


That's it. Humans rock.
posted by symphonik at 12:39 AM on July 10, 2006


That was awesome!!!
posted by tomble at 3:00 AM on July 10, 2006


You can see the shuttle start it's roll in the first video, right around the 1:05 mark. about 5 seconds after liftoff. Makes me wonder why they don't just start off in that position.

Look for separation (around 3:20) and the chute deployed (around 5:30), and splashdown (7:32).
posted by crunchland at 6:04 AM on July 10, 2006


crunch...thanks for posting these! (I went to Space Camp -twice- and am in awe of these missions.)

Watching the "Left forward Solid Rocket Booster camera", I can't help but think about the foam strike that doomed Columbia 82 seconds after launch. This camera angle would have shown the gaping hole in the leading edge of the left wing.

I loved watching the first link beginning to end. It was neat to see the burn of the shuttle's main engines as it motored away from the booster during the first three spins of the camera after SRB separation.
posted by msacheson at 8:48 AM on July 10, 2006


I finally got a chance to watch these, and it's literally breathtaking. The first time watching the right-forward SRB cam I actually gasped and found myself gripping my mouse and the edge of my desk a little too tightly.

Watching said video, my thought processes went something like this.

"Yawn, ok, big crufty looking mobile launch platform from seen from way up above, wispy cryofuel fumes or something down in the pit. Pretty. You've seen lots of that. Waiting.. waiting... still waiting... OK, there's the jets of water for the sound supression. Ooo, fire. That was fast. Main engine start. Oh, crap! Ok, there's the "nod" where the shuttle stack assembly tips forward about 2 meters as the main engines start. Oh holy crap, lots of fire. Check that shit out. OMFG moving fast... so very, very fast. Yeah, you talk a lot of big talk about how you'd go up in the shuttle any time, any day, huh? Your heartrate just kicked up 20 points just watching a few seconds of silent video, you pansy! OK, there's the roll. Ooo, look at the sun and shadows on the bottom of the shuttle. Hey, there's the water tower for the noise supression system. It looks so tiny! Damn, so does a huge chunk of Florida. Wow, the sunlight is sure getting bright mighty fast, and the sky is kind of dark already. Holy crap, we're almost in space already ACK OMG WTF!@! Oh, SRB sep, ok. Ugh, spinning. Why are there still clouds above me... oh, those are way down there. Man that was fast. That's a long ways down. Still spinning and falling, getting dizzy. The atmosphere looks so thin from up here, so fragile... Hey, is that water? *splash* Well, crap. That was too fast. Can I go again?"
posted by loquacious at 4:14 PM on July 10, 2006


After another watch tonight, I got to thinking, and then did a little research on wikipedia. If this isn't too morbid to you, watch the video again, and make a note of when the counter hits 2 minutes, 13 seconds.

It was at that point during a similar liftoff on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger was lost.
posted by crunchland at 8:57 PM on July 10, 2006


I hope it's not too morbid. I thought about the same thing, crunchland, about the second or third time I watched the right forward SRB cam, and was pondering when exactly it would be.

Then I thought about a few tasteless jokes. Like "What color are Christa McAuliffe's eyes? Blue. One blew this way and one blew that way." and "What does NASA stand for? Need Another Seven Astronauts."

*crickets chirping*

Ok, I guess I'm morbid.
posted by loquacious at 10:16 PM on July 10, 2006


Yah, crunchland, you can see the "Go at throttle up" result pretty clearly in the succeeding seconds. It's dramatic, but also keep in mind that the fate of 51-L was sealed at launch -- pun morbidly intended. The SRB O-ring was already burned through and the jetting gas had already affected Challenger's avionics to the point that some moments later would have been beyond the software (and rocketry's) ability to compensate. If the gap had not been pointing toward the ET, the orbiter stack would have yawed or rolled uncontrollably.

This camera angle would have shown the gaping hole in the leading edge of the left wing.

And that's when you wish you didn't have the video, because you don't have a robotic arm and you don't have anything to put in the hole. Seriously, though, CAIB thinks a repair would possibly have extended the orbiter's life to an EVAC altitude. Loss of orbiter certain, loss of all lives less certain.

There's actually another risk that the media hasn't exactly picked up on here -- the risk of fixing what isn't broken. When you have all this video, when you have astronauts visually inspect every inch of the orbiter, then -- well -- you find things, and you have to think about fixing them. Like surgery, this isn't risk free. Do they pull that gap-filler thing? What if pulling it destabilizes the surrounding tiles? What if during the repair a tool or spacesuit contacts part of the heat shield? Do you repair after a repair?

It's basically cognate to the sometimes-mooted argument that outside of a certain risk population, testing for cancer or other diseases is a bad idea -- the false positives and the risk of surgery to a healthy person outweigh the benefit of saving a smaller number of the truly sick.
posted by dhartung at 10:44 PM on July 10, 2006


Here's why the shuttle rolls shortly after liftoff.
posted by msacheson at 7:33 AM on July 11, 2006


This camera angle would have shown the gaping hole in the leading edge of the left wing.

And that's when you wish you didn't have the video, because you don't have a robotic arm and you don't have anything to put in the hole. Seriously, though, CAIB thinks a repair would possibly have extended the orbiter's life to an EVAC altitude. Loss of orbiter certain, loss of all lives less certain.


Yeah, I know there wouldn't have been any way to affect a repair of the hole in the wing in order to save the crew and the craft. (I'm obsessed enough to have read the CAIB report.) Sometimes I just get to thinking of what the hole would have looked like.
posted by msacheson at 7:36 AM on July 11, 2006


these are fucking ace.
posted by 6am at 10:03 AM on July 11, 2006


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