Thursday, February 24, 2011

A summary of 132 launches

Not only is the shuttle the most complicated machine every built, it has the most complicated lift-off of any rocket.  As you can see in an earlier post, the main shuttle engines are not pointed straight down but rather at an angle to the thrust of the solid fuel rocket. This causes the entire shuttle to lift off at a bit of an angle.

Then there's the roll maneuver that starts just after clearing the tower. Then the jettison of the external tank and the release of the solid fuel rockets. Beautiful. Breath-taking. Awe inspiring.

Perhaps the future will bring us an even more amazing piece of technology. Don't hold your breath.