Here’s a link to one of my recent columns. You need to read it to see why a reader sent these pictures.
A MOST AWESOME reader emailed me a kind response and sent me photographs taken of the Space Shuttle, ‘Discovery’ landing on the same airstrip I speak of in the column.
I was stunned to see how dirty and beat up Discovery looks. Once the shuttles shed their rockets as they exited the atmosphere, they couldn’t propel themselves in the atmosphere. As they re-entered, they glided to their landing. Imagine how precise and the calculations would have to be to glide to a stop at a precise location. The space shuttle announced it’s return to earth with double sonic booms. Youngsters probably haven’t heard sonic booms, but they are like not-so-distant explosions. The space shuttles were moving more than twice the speed of sound, so created two booms, spaced about half a second apart, if I remember right.
This link below is an awesome Powerpoint of loading the shuttle piggyback for the flight to Florida. Can you imagine piloting an aircraft that had something like that on top?