THE PILOT OF THIS PLANE IS MAKING A PRACTICE SHUTTLE LANDING. THE REUSABLE SPACE SHUTTLE?
THE PILOT OF THIS PLANE IS MAKING A PRACTICE SHUTTLE LANDING. THE REUSABLE SPACE SHUTTLE WILL BE LAUNCHED AS A ROCKET, FLY A SPACE MISSION, THEN RETURN TO EARTH, LANDING LIKE A GLIDER.
DR. MYRON S. MALKIN IS DIRECTOR OF NASA'S SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM.
You can think about the shuttle as being as space truck in which we're really setting out to take anything or anybody that wants to got to space and do it relatively inexpensively and on a routine basis, and that is really the whole basis of the shuttle program.
THE FIRST ORBITAL FLIGHT OF THE SPACE SHUTTLE IS SCHEDULED FOR MID-1979. THOSE TWO OUTBOARDS SOLID ROCKETS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE SHUTTLE SEPARATE AFTER THE FUEL IS GONE AND ARE PARACHUTED INTO THE OCEAN FOR RECOVERY AND REUSE.
THE ONE BIG EXTERNAL TANK AND THE SHUTTLE THEN PROCEED TOWARD ORBIT. THIS TANK IS THE ONLY PART THAT IS NOT RE-USED.
ONCE IN ORBIT, THE SHUTTLE CARRIES OUT ITS ASSIGNED MISSION. THIS MIGHT INCLUDE PLACING A NEW SATELLITE INTO SPACE, OR RETURNING ONE FOR REPAIRS. DR. MALKIN DESCRIBES THE RE-ENTRY.
When we are ready for re-entry, we would close the payload bay doors, turn the vehicle round, fire the orbital maneuvering engines in order to slow up a little bit to drop us out of orbit, then flip the vehicle around one more time, assume a 40-degree angle in order to pick up the main heat along the heavy thermal protection system along the base of the vehicle. This would occur between 400,000 and may be 100,000 feet. When we get down into the more dense atmosphere where we can use the more conventional arrangements for guiding airplanes like the rudder or the elevons, we would go to a 20-degree angle and glide toward the landing point. When we get about 15 seconds out, we drop the landing gear. At about 1800 feet, then, we perform the final flare and land.
THE PARTS AND PIECES THAT MAKE UP THE SPACE SHUTTLE ARE BEING MANUFACTURED, TESTED, AND ASSEMBLED AT PLANTS IN ALMOST EVERY STATE IN THE UNION. ONE-HUNDRED-FIFTY CONTRACTORS ARE WORKING ON THE ORBITER ALONE. THE WORK RANGES ALL THE WAY FROM PRACTISING EMERGENCY PROCEDURES TO WIND TUNNEL TESTS.
ONE IMPORTANT CONTINGENCY THAT HAS TO BE CONSIDERED IS IN CASE A SPACE RESCUE IS NEEDED. DR. MALKIN EXPLAINS.
In order to keep from carrying a suit for every person in the flight, we have invented and developed the rescue ball. This will be for some of the passengers. In the event rescue is necessary, why they would clime into the ball, carry their oxygen supply with them, zip it up, and then the rescuers would take care of getting them to the rescuing vehicle.
THE REUSABLE SPACE SHUTTLE. BEYOND-THE-EARTH TRANSPORTATION OF THE FUTURE, CAPABLE OF FLYING SCIENTISTS AND EXPERIMENTS TO AND FROM SPACE AT LEAST ONE HUNDRED TIMES.