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eksath
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STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Fri May 21, 2010 8:41 pm

 

This is as it was seen thru my eyes. I was 4 miles downrange standing on a NASA platform that gave a spectacular view of the action. Given that it was a night launch,it made things interesting even on top of the platform. Enjoy!

http://www.atapattu.net/atapattu11.html
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ANITIX87
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Fri May 21, 2010 9:09 pm

Hi, Suresh.

Great, great photos. I was going to start another thread, but I figure this is as good a place as any to ask since you work in the industry and the questions stemmed from watching the launch of STS-132.

1) Why does the shuttle perform its roll after take-off? I know it's so that it can move downrange, but would it be impossible to rotate the launch pad? Couldn't they, in theory, orient the launch pad differently to eliminate the need for the roll?

2) The orbiter goes upside-down after launch for the flight out of the atmosphere. Is this done for aerodynamic or safety reasons? In other words, is it necessary to have the heat shield in the direction of travel for the exit, too? I know the shuttle rotates back to a "normal" attitude with the center tank underneath it once it reaches a certain point, but why the initial upside-down attitude?

3) The shuttle is connected to the large center tank, and the two solid boosters. Do the boosters have their own fuel inside them? Along similar lines, does the shuttle carry its own fuel, or is this what the central tank is for? Or does the tank feed all three? What do the shuttle's engines burn? Is it the same stuff as the SRBs?

I'm sure I'll think of more questions. The whole launch process intrigues me greatly, so I'm keen to learn about it! I've read some online materials to get a basic idea (about engine-out scenarios, alternate landing strips, abort options, etc) but these questions came to mind regardless.

Thanks.

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zanl188
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Fri May 21, 2010 10:03 pm

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
1) Why does the shuttle perform its roll after take-off? I know it's so that it can move downrange, but would it be impossible to rotate the launch pad? Couldn't they, in theory, orient the launch pad differently to eliminate the need for the roll?

The roll establishes the shuttle on the correct heading much as an airliner will turn after take off to the correct heading. Since the shuttle launches vertically it uses roll to come to the correct heading vs yaw as an airliner would do.

It is no more practical to turn the launch pad to the correct heading than it would be to turn a runway to the correct heading for an airliner.

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
2) The orbiter goes upside-down after launch for the flight out of the atmosphere. Is this done for aerodynamic or safety reasons? In other words, is it necessary to have the heat shield in the direction of travel for the exit, too? I know the shuttle rotates back to a "normal" attitude with the center tank underneath it once it reaches a certain point, but why the initial upside-down attitude?

It better aligns the thrust of the SSMEs with the desired direction of travel & center of gravity of the shuttle. Alignment of various antennas with respective ground stations and satellites is also a consideration.

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
3) The shuttle is connected to the large center tank, and the two solid boosters. Do the boosters have their own fuel inside them? Along similar lines, does the shuttle carry its own fuel, or is this what the central tank is for? Or does the tank feed all three? What do the shuttle's engines burn? Is it the same stuff as the SRBs?

The boosters burn solid fuel and receive no liquid fuel from the external tank. The shuttle burns a combination of liquid oxygen & liquid hydrogen.
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Stealthz
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Sat May 22, 2010 3:35 pm

Quoting ZANL188 (Reply 2):
It is no more practical to turn the launch pad to the correct heading than it would be to turn a runway to the correct heading for an airliner.

If my memory serves me correctly a significant amount of work had gone into the planning of new launch pads that were oriented appropriately when someone realised that a small amount of control movement by the shuttle just after launch would achieve the same result almost for free.. legend has it that it was a summer intern!!

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vikkyvik
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Sun May 23, 2010 6:20 am

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
3) The shuttle is connected to the large center tank, and the two solid boosters. Do the boosters have their own fuel inside them? Along similar lines, does the shuttle carry its own fuel, or is this what the central tank is for? Or does the tank feed all three? What do the shuttle's engines burn? Is it the same stuff as the SRBs?

Just to add a bit to ZANL188's reply:

The SRB fuel is contained within the SRBs themselves. Basically (far as I remember), once you ignite one of those things, there's no shutting it off until it's burned all the fuel inside. That is to say, the fuel is not being transferred from somewhere else, with a valve that can be closed. It lines the inside of the SRBs, and burns where it lies.

As stated, the shuttle main engines burn liquid hydrogen and oxygen. These fuels are contained in the external tank.
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Blackprojects
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Sun May 23, 2010 4:22 pm

When NASA Launches the Shuttle it is Basicaly a Steam engine as the Main engines are combusting Liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen and from those two you get Water .
 
zanl188
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Sun May 23, 2010 5:10 pm

Quoting Blackprojects (Reply 5):
When NASA Launches the Shuttle it is Basicaly a Steam engine as the Main engines are combusting Liquid Oxygen and Hydrogen and from those two you get Water .

I've got to hear the rest of your explanation for this. Steam Engine?
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eksath
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RE: STS:123 Takeoff From My Vantage Point

Tue May 25, 2010 8:02 pm

Quoting ANITIX87 (Reply 1):
but why the initial upside-down attitude?

1. The pads came from the previous program and if you put the orbtiers on the other side then they will be orientated away from launch control. I guess it could be done but why bother if the stack can rotate?  

Tomorrow, I will ask some guys who worked on the Apollo program and the advent of the STS program and get their views of how it went down back then. I will update based on what they tell me.  

2.One point that has not been stated is the fact that upside down orientation helps keep the pilots orientated correctly (i.e. watch Earth hence have a reference point upon seperation from the rest of the stack in an emergency ). This helps also if there is an abort to KSC or a trans Atlantic site.
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