tommybp251b
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Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 7:25 pm

Hi Everybody!

I was reading, that there are several airports in the world which could handle space shuttle. One of them is CGN. Are these airports mentioned on Wikipedia( Don't bash me for that!) really still capable to handle the shuttle? I know its not very likely that it will happen.

I have some theoretical questions:

1. How would be the procedure if the NASA decides to let the Shuttle land at CGN?
2. How long would they have to close the airfield?
3. In which stage of the shuttle mission a landing in CGN would be most likely? After take-off?
4. Under which circumstances they would decide to let the shuttle land outside US?
5. Was there any mission, where it was discussed due to any circumstances, that the shuttle has to land outside US?


Thanks for any information you can give me.

Best Regards. Tom
Tom from Cologne
 
Mir
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:16 pm

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
4. Under which circumstances they would decide to let the shuttle land outside US?

The most likely situation would have to be a TAL abort. I guess if KSC, Edwards AND White Sands were all unavailable due to weather, and they had to get the shuttle on the ground, then it would become a possibility, but I just can't see that situation happening.

-Mir
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jwenting
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:29 pm

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
1. How would be the procedure if the NASA decides to let the Shuttle land at CGN?

local authorities would be notified to close airspace and facilities and prepare for arrival.
The mission scripts would be in place already.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
2. How long would they have to close the airfield?

Probably at least a few hours.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
3. In which stage of the shuttle mission a landing in CGN would be most likely? After take-off?

Location makes use during aborted launch unlikely. More likely is as a diversion field if a return to earth becomes critical with no US landing site in range during the time available.
Think critical medical condition, sudden loss of O2 stores or CO2 scrubbers, etc.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
4. Under which circumstances they would decide to let the shuttle land outside US?

See above. Either an emergency in space or an aborted takeoff at a point that makes return to the US impossible.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
5. Was there any mission, where it was discussed due to any circumstances, that the shuttle has to land outside US?

not that I know of, but NASA wouldn't put that in the press release after a completed mission...
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zanl188
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 8:41 pm

These are generalizations but I believe they are accurate.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
1. How would be the procedure if the NASA decides to let the Shuttle land at CGN?

Any situation that would cause a shuttle to land somewhere other than KSC, Edwards, White Sands, or the TAL sites is going to be quite dire and will be executed without any preplanning aside from that done before launch. That said, the airport in question will probably only get 45 minutes to an hours notice of the shuttles arrival.

After the shuttles arrival it will sit on the runway for some time. I would suggest 12 hours minimum but probably until a NASA Go team arrives to safe the hypergolic systems. Hypergolic fuels are toxic and the fuel will combust on contact with the oxidizer.

At some point the crew will vacate the shuttle. The hatch opens downward and stops parallel to the ground forming a platform for the crew. The crew has a bar they can attach to the hatch which they use to swing down to the ground. It won't be pretty nor graceful as they'll be in their launch and entry suits and some of them (particularly any long duration station crew members) will be "wobbly".

While the initial Go team is enroute a cargo aircraft will be picking up the transportable mate demate device for transport to the landing site.

edit: here's a pix of the mate/demate device. Quite the contraption....

http://www.airfields-freeman.com/NM/WhiteSands_NM_82_Shuttle747.jpg

Following the initial Go team there will be a virtual flood of NASA people to deal with payloads, the crew, logistics, prepping the shuttle for transport, public affairs, etc.

At some point the SCA will fly in to have the shuttle loaded on its back.

After 10 days to two weeks the shuttle will leave on the SCA.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
3. In which stage of the shuttle mission a landing in CGN would be most likely? After take-off?

Following an extremely dire and life threatening event. This could happen during any part of the mission prior to the deorbit burn.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
4. Under which circumstances they would decide to let the shuttle land outside US?

After every other possible option has been considered, rejected, and their is no other way to save the crew.

Quoting TommyBP251b (Thread starter):
5. Was there any mission, where it was discussed due to any circumstances, that the shuttle has to land outside US?

Perhaps, for an instant or two, it may have been considered during the mission that aborted to orbit. I'd have to say no it has not been considered during any mission.

[Edited 2007-06-23 13:58:58]
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chksix
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:18 pm

Every launch is dependant on good weather in either Spain or France in case of a TAL abort.
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curlyheadboy
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:02 pm

I wonder if in this case they would establish contact with the ATC... woul love to listen to the comm exchanges, lol! Big grin
If God had wanted men to fly he would have given them more money...
 
tommybp251b
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 10:23 pm

Thank you very much. That was quick.

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 3):
Perhaps, for an instant or two, it may have been considered during the mission that aborted to orbit.

When did this happen?

Best regards. Tom
Tom from Cologne
 
zanl188
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RE: Question: What If A Space Shuttle Lands Outside US

Sat Jun 23, 2007 11:04 pm

Quoting TommyBP251b (Reply 6):
When did this happen?

July 1985, STS-51F Challenger

"The launch countdown July 12 halted at T-3 seconds after main engine ignition when a malfunction of the number two space shuttle main engine (SSME) coolant valve caused a shutdown of all three main engines. The launch on July 29 was delayed 1 hour, 37 minutes due to a problem with the table maintenance block update uplink. 5 minutes, 45 seconds into ascent, the number one main engine shutdown prematurely, resulting in an Abort To Orbit (ATO) trajectory."

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sh...ttlemissions/archives/sts-51F.html

The shutdown on the #1 engine occured after the GPCs detected an overtemp condition. A second engine was about to be shutdown for the same reason. A controller suspected the sensors were reporting bad data and inhibited the sensor on the second engine. Had he not done so and had the 2nd engine shutdown automatically Challenger would've attempted a TAL abort into Zaragoza.

Correction: The controller did not inhibit the sensor himself, he passed the command to the capcom and capcom had the crew do it.

[Edited 2007-06-23 16:24:03]
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