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Space Shuttle Piggyback Questions  
User currently offlineAC_B777 From Canada, joined Aug 2000, 809 posts, RR: 13
Posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 6811 times:

I was looking at pictures of the shuttle riding piggyback on the 747 and was wondering, does anyone (pilots, astronauts, technicians) ride in the shuttle while it is being brought back to Kennedy from Edwards?
I would assume there would be people onboard in case of a breakaway situation due to an emergency on either the 747 or shuttle.
Does anyone have any info on this and what procedure might be? Also, how would they get in the shuttle? Surely there are'nt any airstairs/ladders that can reach to the hatch on the shuttle. Probably from the mating platform?


In life, some days you are the bug..... some days you are the windshield!
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 6803 times:



Quoting AC_B777 (Thread starter):
does anyone (pilots, astronauts, technicians) ride in the shuttle while it is being brought back to Kennedy from Edwards?

No

Quoting AC_B777 (Thread starter):
I would assume there would be people on board in case of a breakaway situation due to an emergency on either the 747 or shuttle.

No

Quoting AC_B777 (Thread starter):
Does anyone have any info on this and what procedure might be?

There is none.

Quoting AC_B777 (Thread starter):
Also, how would they get in the shuttle?

They can't.

The Shuttle just sits there and rides back to the Cape.


User currently offlineUnattendedBag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 6745 times:



Quoting AC_B777 (Thread starter):
I would assume there would be people onboard in case of a breakaway situation due to an emergency on either the 747 or shuttle.

Question directed back to AC_B777:

what would a passenger do if the Shuttle did break away???



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User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3526 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 6695 times:
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Quoting UnattendedBag (Reply 2):
what would a passenger do if the Shuttle did break away???

Strictly speaking I suspect there are no passengers however...

For the Approach and Landing Tests (ALT): the 2 crew aboard the orbiter had ejection seats. 747 crew would have bailed out using an escape chute leading from the flight deck and out the belly - window bursters would've been used on the main deck to depressurize the hull.

On the ferry flights the orbiter is crewless, powered down, and flight controls locked. IIRC there are no airborne escape provisions for the 747 crew- escape system was deactivated following the ALT.



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User currently offlineAC_B777 From Canada, joined Aug 2000, 809 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 6686 times:

Well, thanks for the replys. I was a little surprised to learn that nobody would ride in the shuttle during piggyback.


Quoting UnattendedBag (Reply 2):
what would a passenger do if the Shuttle did break away???

Well, I did'nt mean 'passengers' but people who were qualified to fly the shuttle to a landing site if some major problem happened with the 747.



In life, some days you are the bug..... some days you are the windshield!
User currently offlineThorny From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (5 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 6590 times:



Quoting AC_B777 (Reply 4):

Well, I did'nt mean 'passengers' but people who were qualified to fly the shuttle to a landing site if some major problem happened with the 747.

The Shuttle is not crewed during the ferry flight. The fuel cells are not active during the ferry flight (no electrical power), and the Auxiliary Power Units are not active during the ferry flight (no power to the control surfaces.) There are also no explosive bolts to separate the Shuttle from the 747 as there were during the Approach and Landing Tests, and the ferry flights use a shorter nose-strut, not the longer strut that gave a high angle of attack to allow clean separation during the ALTs.

If the Shuttle broke away during the ferry flight, it would almost certainly not be a clean break, and would probably take the 747 with it, both breaking up in the event. If by some miracle all three attach points failed simultaneously, the Shuttle would probably impact the 747's tail and then drop like a rock, leaving the 747 crippled and its crew hopefully bailing out.


User currently offlineUnattendedBag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6123 times:



Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 3):
747 crew would have bailed out using an escape chute leading from the flight deck and out the belly -

that would be a sight to see!

Quoting AC_B777 (Reply 4):
Well, I did'nt mean 'passengers' but people who were qualified to fly the shuttle to a landing site if some major problem happened with the 747.

you are aware that as the shuttle returns to earth, it is in effect a glider. it has no working engines and the odds of "flying" it to a landing site would be next to impossible.

Im pretty sure NASA wouldn't want to put crew in the shuttle for the rare event that the shuttle becomes detached from the host, only to have them try and safely "crash land" the shuttle and save an already aging orbiter. That seems like putting two lives at risk for very little reward.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineVikkyvik From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 10038 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 6044 times:
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Quoting UnattendedBag (Reply 6):

you are aware that as the shuttle returns to earth, it is in effect a glider. it has no working engines and the odds of "flying" it to a landing site would be next to impossible.

Especially considering the fact that the shuttle isn't a particularly efficient glider.

A commercial airplane could glide for over 100 miles from cruising altitude. By comparison, the shuttle is still at something like 70,000 feet when it's around 50 miles from touchdown. If it were to glide from airliner cruising altitude (say, around 30,000 feet), you'd probably have somewhere in the region of 15-20 miles of glide distance to work with, far as I can tell. That doesn't give you many - if any - options for landing sites.



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User currently offlineBmacleod From Canada, joined Aug 2001, 2280 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 5915 times:

The shuttle is, as many engineers have quoted, a flying brick without its fuel.

If it were to break away from the 747 it is virtually impossible to make a successful landing because of its shear weight and limited maneuverability so close to the ground.



The engine is the heart of an airplane, but the pilot is its soul.
User currently offlineRwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2353 posts, RR: 2
Reply 9, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 5906 times:
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Quoting Bmacleod (Reply 8):
If it were to break away from the 747 it is virtually impossible to make a successful landing because of its shear weight and limited maneuverability so close to the ground.

They did drop Enterprise from the first SCA five times for the initial landing tests. And the drops were from 19,000 to 26,000ft. Of course those were planned and carefully set up.


User currently offlineMax Q From United States of America, joined May 2001, 4528 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (5 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 5858 times:

Check out 'Moonraker' with my favourite Bond, Roger Moore for an inflight 'theft' of a space shuttle AC777 !


The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
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