Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Endeavour's Booster's Record Dynamic Launch

NASA today released dynamic launch video recorded via small cameras located on the top and bottom of the solid rocket boosters from the recent space shuttle Endeavour's ascent.

Endeavour, which launched on July 15th following recent delays due to weather, rose through the Space Coast's atmosphere and into space as shown through six cameras on the boosters. A view looking upward and behind the orbiter's wing gives the viewer a "ride aboard the shuttle prospective" as we watched blue sky turn to black, and the blue of the earth's limb develop below.

One interesting video section is when Endeavour passed through MAX-Q, or the period of dynamic pressure (right), showing the moisture and air flow buildup around the orbiter, here at T+:53 seconds.

The rocket boosters ignite at zero, unlike the main engines of the orbiter which fire up six seconds before launch. At 124 seconds into the launch, the boosters are separated from the sides of the external tank, and are later recovered from the Atlantic waters east of the Cape. The boosters are then towed back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station so they can be refurbished in Utah and sent back to the Kennedy Space Center fueled up.

Also of interest in the dynamic sounds recoded from the mid-section of the boosters. You can really hear the sounds the boosters gives off as it continues to vent propellant, and from the deployment of the parachutes. Even as it bobs in the Atlantic ocean awaiting their visitors, Liberty Star and Freedom Star.

Camera's were added to the boosters beginning with the firs
t flight following the loss of Columbia in 2005. The booster cameras are pointed to look for any evidence of falling foam or ice from the external tank which, no matter how large, tends to fall of the tank during the first minutes of the flight.

The left Booster is seen from the right SRB's camera after separation.

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