Part of my RTLS abort. [link]
It's not a space shot... But it still looks way, way, waaay better full-screen!
I came in a bit too high, so I had to circle around, and now I'm lining up for my final approach to Kennedy. It's a sweet, calming sight. Every flight lands like this, so the perilous abort is mostly over.
But, a landing like this is far from calm or ordinary, even though it is routine for Shuttle flights. It's a 109 ton glider the glides about as well as a brick. I can't come in too fast, or I'll run out of runway and smash the shuttle up. Even if I survive such a crash, the toxic OMS (Orbital Maneuvering System) propellant tanks will most likely be ruptured.
But if I come in too slow, I've dropped the external tank, the only fuel tank, for the main engines, and the Orbital maneuvering engines not only spout out toxic chemicals but they don't have enough thrust to do anything in-atmosphere, even if they could work in the atmosphere. So I can't recover any lost speed.
I've got to get the approach perfect. The speed just right, the altitude just right, the speed right for the altitude, and most of all the distance to the runway right for speed and altitude.
Anything but ordinary.
Comment on entire RTLS Abort: [link]