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December 22, 2006 8:20 PM   Subscribe

Space Shuttle Discovery lands. (WMV) Watch for the view from the cockpit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (38 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very neat.
posted by notsnot at 8:52 PM on December 22, 2006


Very cool. I wonder what kind of camera they use to get such a steady, high power shot from the ground. Even with all the cloud cover it was still pretty clear.
posted by itchylick at 9:06 PM on December 22, 2006


I watched this live today ... and still get goosebumps watching a shuttle land.
posted by ericb at 9:12 PM on December 22, 2006


I found this video (MP4 from the mission page-SRB cams montage) very compelling...and strangely beautiful...the cascades of burning propellant fireflies against the cold black space is absolutely gorgeous...
posted by pjern at 9:39 PM on December 22, 2006


I watched it live on CNN with my son... And I ended up wondering why they made such a "newsy" deal out of it this time... This is the 33rd shuttle landing, and I can't remember a recent one that got so much press coverage.
posted by amyms at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2006


Bravo zulu indeed!
posted by Quietgal at 9:42 PM on December 22, 2006


hurry, hurry.... get us off of this hellhole......


very cool, indeed......
posted by peewinkle at 9:47 PM on December 22, 2006


that was dope!
posted by phaedon at 9:51 PM on December 22, 2006


Itchylick: I wouldn't be surprised if the camera hardware still had a lot in common with the old film-based missile tracking cameras.
posted by dansdata at 10:01 PM on December 22, 2006


And I ended up wondering why they made such a "newsy" deal out of it this time

Night launch, and (somewhat coincidentally) night landing. Those had been banned since the Columbia accident so that they could get the best imagery of the orbiter in case it was needed for, uh, forensic purposes.

Plus, this is a really slow news cycle.
posted by dhartung at 10:07 PM on December 22, 2006


Night launch, and (somewhat coincidentally) night landing. Those had been banned since the Columbia accident so that they could get the best imagery of the orbiter in case it was needed for, uh, forensic purposes.

Thanks, dhartung... The skeptic in me was thinking that maybe "they" were trying to make us feel patriotic and awe-inspired, and I was trying to figure out the "why?"... lol
posted by amyms at 10:34 PM on December 22, 2006


Space is awesome.
posted by thebigdeadwaltz at 10:40 PM on December 22, 2006 [1 favorite]


speaking of slow news cycles...
posted by phaedon at 11:01 PM on December 22, 2006


Compelling. I wonder what the point is in sending up many tonnes of glider just so it can come back down to earth. Sooner it's replaced the better.
posted by econous at 11:22 PM on December 22, 2006


Here are some photos. I like this one.
posted by muckster at 11:31 PM on December 22, 2006


Listening to the altitude hacks being called gives small aircraft pilots the willies. They're knocking off 5,000+ feet of altitude a minute. From 11, 000 feet, they are on the ground 2 minutes later. In contrast, a fully loaded Cessna 172 deadsticking at maximum gross weight and 65 knot best glide speed will only drop 550 feet per minute, and will take 14+ minutes to glide the 17+ miles it could to touchdown. I doubt you could get an intact Cessna 172 to drop out of the sky as fast as a Shuttle falls in normal "glide" configuration, as an "emergency descent" rate of about 1500 feet per minute is about the best the trusty Cessna 172 can produce. 'Course, the Cessna never has the problem of having way too much airspeed that needs to be bled away in high angle turns, either.

Gives a whole new perspective on the description of the Shuttle as a winged brick. But as a giant air brake, it's da bomb.
posted by paulsc at 12:52 AM on December 23, 2006


That's spectacular. Is there a way to download that video?
posted by Inkslinger at 1:57 AM on December 23, 2006


Caught a "Bravo Zulu" at the end -- that's a brownshoe deadstickin' that bird...
posted by pax digita at 3:24 AM on December 23, 2006


try right clicking this link and do a save target
posted by derbs at 5:52 AM on December 23, 2006


Bravo Zulu, Discovery
posted by smoothvirus at 6:02 AM on December 23, 2006


This makes me think of that horrible landing where the plane was jumping all over the place. You don't get second chances with the space shuttle. Hopefully it is a "winged brick" to remove that as a possibility.
posted by ajpresto at 6:53 AM on December 23, 2006


Man, I love this stuff. My son's just gotten interested in space shuttles; does anyone know where I can find high-quality videos of launches and/or landings? All I can find on the NASA website are QT and RM files.
posted by Doofus Magoo at 7:05 AM on December 23, 2006


Compelling. I wonder what the point is in sending up many tonnes of glider just so it can come back down to earth. Sooner it's replaced the better.
posted by econous


Econonus - Although the shuttle is quickly approaching the end of its projected service life (actually, I think it's a little beyond it - but I'd have to double check) and I think everyone would like to see it replaced, I'll be sad to see it go. It will truly be the end of an era since the next projected spacecraft are harkening back to the Orion 'module' days. Instead of improving on the reusable glider spacecraft design NASA is backtracking on literally 30+ years of technological advances. 'tis a shame!

The point of sending up all those tonnes of a glider just so it could come back down was because it was a recycleable vehicle that saved money. Every shuttle that returned to earth was another spacecraft that didn't have to be built. Every solid rocket booster that was recovered after launch was another one that didn't have to be rebuilt.

There's also something to be said for the the beauty and 'thrill factor' of something like the shuttle program and the effects it has on society. It has been a source of pride and an intellectual stimulus for millions of people around the world. Not to get to Star-Trekky on everyone, but the point of sending up a glider so it can just come back down is to 'boldy go where no man has gone before'.
posted by matty at 7:19 AM on December 23, 2006


Listening to the altitude hacks being called gives small aircraft pilots the willies. They're knocking off 5,000+ feet of altitude a minute.

Just watching the HUD altitude hashes is enough to scare me. The shuttle is falling at about half the speed a skydiver falls at -- without the chute deployed.

Caught a "Bravo Zulu" at the end -- that's a brownshoe deadstickin' that bird...

The Shuttle Commander, who would have been flying most of the approach, is Roman Polansky, former USAF. The Shuttle Pilot, however, is CDR William Oefelein, USN.

The reason for the Bravo Zulu is that the CAPCOM was CDR Kenneth Ham, USN. CAPCOMs (Capsule Communications -- goes back to the Mercury Days) by tradition is always another astronaut.

It would be natural for a USN CAPCOM to acknowledge a good landing with a BZ, since CDR Ham was a carrier rated Navy pilot and did a great deal of instruction work.

Hopefully it is a "winged brick" to remove that as a possibility.

Landing weight is 102mT, and with the small wing area, she's not going to move around much.

However, the real trick is the guy who shoots the approach just before in the Shuttle Training Aircraft -- if they don't like the winds, they call off the landing, and this is one place where NASA gets it right. If the rated Shuttle Pilot flying the STA approach no-gos, the landing either diverts or is postponed.

Crosswinds are critical at KSC, where missing the runway means you're alligator food. They're much less so at Edwards, on the salt-flat runways. To give you an idea of the scale, here is Edwards AFB.The paved runway here is very long, 15013 feet, just shy of three miles.

Scroll to the east and north to see the long runways.
posted by eriko at 7:57 AM on December 23, 2006


They don't deploy landing gear until 300 feet? Geez. There's no room for failure on those.
posted by DonnieSticks at 8:04 AM on December 23, 2006


Doofus Magoo': your son might enjoy these as much as I do. Not all space shuttle vids, but it's still neat as hell watching a video clip of a camera looking downward on the side of a Delta V during launch.
posted by trinarian at 8:11 AM on December 23, 2006


Big Science.
Alleluia.
Sincerely! I love this stuff.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:18 AM on December 23, 2006


The Shuttle Commander, who would have been flying most of the approach, is Roman Polansky

Minor point -- He's actually 'Mark Polansky.' His nickname is "Roman" -- after the expat American film director.
posted by ericb at 8:38 AM on December 23, 2006


There's no room for failure on those.

Not a great deal of room for failure period in a shuttle landing. I was stunned when I learned, some years ago, that it was a glide down landing. At least an airplane, above a certain point, can pull up and come round for a second, better pass.

I wonder what the point is in sending up many tonnes of glider just so it can come back down to earth.

The problem with the shuttle was that it was a craft designed during a time when no president wanted to be the one to officially can the space program, but didn't really have a clear vision for it either. The shuttle had way too many inputs from "stakeholders" (in modern parlance); it tried to be too many things for too many diverse groups of users, and ended up being not a great deal of use to anyone.
posted by Zinger at 8:48 AM on December 23, 2006


Doofus Magoo - there's a pay section on this site with lots of high-quality nasa videos.

also there are some free videos in their main forum, here.
posted by joeblough at 12:03 PM on December 23, 2006


space * [?] = cool
posted by wah at 2:10 PM on December 23, 2006


I ...Metafilter?...corrected.

Roman Polansky, USAF? Any relation to...?
posted by pax digita at 3:08 PM on December 23, 2006


Off-topic, but related:

2006. The Year in Pictures - Space.
posted by ericb at 3:10 PM on December 23, 2006


Minor point -- He's actually 'Mark Polansky.'

Yeah, I'd put Mark "Roman" Polanksy, with an explanation, decided to trim it out -- and cut out the *wrong freaking name*.

Thanks for the catch.
posted by eriko at 3:43 PM on December 23, 2006


Yesterday, just after touchdown, mission control actually used his nickname "Norman" on the public radio transmission. In the NASA community many refer to him by his nickname.
posted by ericb at 3:54 PM on December 23, 2006


*his nickname "Norman" on*

*Roman* -- okay, one martini, two martini, three martini, FLOOR!
posted by ericb at 7:42 PM on December 23, 2006


Makes me think of the Worst Rush Song Evar.
posted by LordSludge at 11:43 PM on December 23, 2006


"altitude hacks being called gives small aircraft pilots the willies" As its been said, its the best flying brick ever. How do they land that thing at that speed ...amazing. I used to listen to takeoffs over that phone line they set up for fans at an outrageous price per minute. This is quite a bit better, isn't technology great. Now could we see some takeoffs too please.
posted by uni verse at 11:38 AM on December 24, 2006


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