Author Topic: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC  (Read 11752 times)

Offline spacemuppet

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Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« on: 07/04/2007 08:05 pm »
If an orbiter had to "abort to Europe", how would it get back to the US?  Correct me if I am wrong but the 747-100 carrier can't go very far at all on one "tank" of gas, would they mid-air refuel it?  Also, do they have a crane device at all the abort sites to load the orbiter atop the 747?  Would they have to take it apart and ship it back in pieces?

Offline Jim

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Re: returning aborted orbitr to KSC
« Reply #1 on: 07/04/2007 08:10 pm »
The SCA can't be inflight refueled.   The orbiter has to be lightened to allow the SCA to make the hop across the Atlantic.  The payloads and engines would have to be removed and the crew cabin gutted.  Crane would rented to make the lift.

Offline William Graham

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Re: returning aborted orbitr to KSC
« Reply #2 on: 07/04/2007 08:36 pm »
Would they need to shift the tailcone across the Atlantic?

Offline psloss

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #3 on: 07/04/2007 08:43 pm »
There's probably some holes and questions that will come out of them (i.e., they probably shouldn't be taken verbatim) and they're circa 2001, but these releases might be generally useful:

Table of Contents:
http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/nasafact/taltoc.htm

http://www-pao.ksc.nasa.gov/nasafact/talgrnd.htm

Offline Rocket Guy

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #4 on: 07/04/2007 09:02 pm »
They took Enterprise across the Atlantic. I know they stopped n Newfoundland. I would think they could do it with no problem going from England-Iceland-Greenland-Newfoundland. Anyone know what other stops Enterprise made?

Offline SpaceNutz SA

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #5 on: 07/04/2007 10:57 pm »
I've done some research on this.  She made stops at Dulles (13 June 1983),  and Goose Bay in Canada and she was at Stansted (London) during the tour and obviously at Le Bourget for the Airshow.  Would be nice to piece the entire flightplan together and map it out on Google Earth but not much specific info on the web.  Maybe someone at NASA can dig up some old archives?  

An iteresting aside I came across was that the French authorities refused permission to do a fly-over in Paris.  All other European countries were only too Happy.
"Lets not make things worse by guessing" - Gene Kranz - Apollo 13 Flight Director

Offline gordo

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Re: returning aborted orbitr to KSC
« Reply #6 on: 07/04/2007 11:57 pm »
Quote
Jim - 4/7/2007  9:10 PM

The SCA can't be inflight refueled.   The orbiter has to be lightened to allow the SCA to make the hop across the Atlantic.  The payloads and engines would have to be removed and the crew cabin gutted.  Crane would rented to make the lift.

your contradicting what the guys say here

"Payloads and/or airborne support equipment will remain onboard the orbiter for the flight back to Kennedy Space Center unless the capability of the shuttle carrier aircraft (SCA), landing site location or other requirements dictate otherwise."


The limiting factor for the SCA is aerodynamic drag and flying at 15,000ft. the max payload on a 747f is around the same weight as the orbiters max landing weight, so its makes little difference in the scheme of things between enterprise or a space flown orbiter on the back.

Any landing in Europe would not be a problem getting the orbiter home in one piece.  A trip across the atlantic would use the same route as Enterprise took in 1983, up though the Uk, with a stop at Prestwick, then on to Iceland, Gandar and into the US.  this is a similar route flown daily by range challenged light aircraft.

Offline Rocket Guy

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Re: returning aborted orbitr to KSC
« Reply #7 on: 07/05/2007 12:02 am »
Quote
Jim - 4/7/2007  9:10 PM

The SCA can't be inflight refueled.  

By the way, I believe they considered doing that originally but deemed it too risky and/or unnecessary.

Online bobthemonkey

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #8 on: 07/05/2007 12:32 am »
Risky! - even using the established 747 IFR recepticle above the radome clearence between the tanker and the receiver would be very tight,

Offline MechTech

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #9 on: 07/05/2007 01:31 am »
They have also shipped a orbiter by barge before so I guess floating it could happen but I would doubt it .

Offline Jim

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Re: returning aborted orbitr to KSC
« Reply #10 on: 07/05/2007 02:13 am »
Quote
gordo - 4/7/2007  7:57 PM


The limiting factor for the SCA is aerodynamic drag and flying at 15,000ft. the max payload on a 747f is around the same weight as the orbiters max landing weight, so its makes little difference in the scheme of things between enterprise or a space flown orbiter on the back.

Any landing in Europe would not be a problem getting the orbiter home in one piece.  A trip across the atlantic would use the same route as Enterprise took in 1983, up though the Uk, with a stop at Prestwick, then on to Iceland, Gandar and into the US.  this is a similar route flown daily by range challenged light aircraft.

Enterprise was lighter and it doesn't have the altitude restrictions.  Weight still has an effect on range.  With the lower altitude and increased drag, reduced weight is the only way to increase range.

Offline Zpoxy

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #11 on: 07/05/2007 02:39 am »
Quote
bobthemonkey - 4/7/2007  8:32 PM

Risky! - even using the established 747 IFR recepticle above the radome clearence between the tanker and the receiver would be very tight,

Wrong direction. There were tests done in the late '80s or early '90s on this. The SCA would have been the upper plane in an in-flight refueling scheme. There would have been a refueling boom in it's tail and it would be lowered to join up with a tanker. Then the fuel would have been pumped up the boom to the SCA. The reason for this was the turbulence from a tanker above the SCA would cause cracks in the additional vertical stabilizers attach fittings on the ends of the horizontal stabilizer. This was in either Aviation Week or Jenkins book.

Offline Jim

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #12 on: 07/05/2007 12:14 pm »
Not to mention exposing the orbiter to the tanker turbulence and exhaust

Offline brahmanknight

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #13 on: 07/05/2007 12:41 pm »
The real question is what they do if it aborts to Austrailia or Hawaii.  I figure you could go up the east side of Asia, hop over to Alaska, then back down the west coast.  But what they do in Hawaii, I have no idea.

Offline Gary

Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #14 on: 07/05/2007 12:55 pm »
Quote
brahmanknight - 5/7/2007  1:41 PM

The real question is what they do if it aborts to Austrailia or Hawaii.  I figure you could go up the east side of Asia, hop over to Alaska, then back down the west coast.  But what they do in Hawaii, I have no idea.

Why would they abort to Australia or Hawaii? TAL sites are in Europe. AOA is to EDW and problems on orbit mean a deorbit to EDW, WSSH or KSC at the first opportunity.

Offline rosbif73

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #15 on: 07/05/2007 01:04 pm »
Quote
brahmanknight - 5/7/2007  2:41 PM

The real question is what they do if it aborts to Austrailia or Hawaii.  I figure you could go up the east side of Asia, hop over to Alaska, then back down the west coast.  But what they do in Hawaii, I have no idea.

It would have to be a pretty serious on-orbit incident to require an immediate deorbit; conceivably the sort of incident that, if it occurred at this late stage in the program, would mean that it is financially best to leave the affected orbiter where she is as a museum piece! (pure conjecture on my part!)

Offline Danny Dot

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #16 on: 07/05/2007 04:44 pm »
Quote
brahmanknight - 5/7/2007  7:41 AM

The real question is what they do if it aborts to Austrailia or Hawaii.  I figure you could go up the east side of Asia, hop over to Alaska, then back down the west coast.  But what they do in Hawaii, I have no idea.

They might have to go west at first to island hop to Japan/China then north up to Alaska.
Danny Deger

Offline mkirk

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #17 on: 07/05/2007 05:17 pm »
Quote
rosbif73 - 5/7/2007  8:04 AM

Quote
brahmanknight - 5/7/2007  2:41 PM

The real question is what they do if it aborts to Austrailia or Hawaii.  I figure you could go up the east side of Asia, hop over to Alaska, then back down the west coast.  But what they do in Hawaii, I have no idea.

It would have to be a pretty serious on-orbit incident to require an immediate deorbit; conceivably the sort of incident that, if it occurred at this late stage in the program, would mean that it is financially best to leave the affected orbiter where she is as a museum piece! (pure conjecture on my part!)

Some situations that would require an Emergency Deorbit include; Loss of both Freon Loops which results in loss of cooling for the vehicle, Loss of both Water Loops, Cabin leaks that are too big to wait for the designated CONUS PLS (primary landing sites), impending loss of fuel cell cryos (hydrogen or oxygen), leaking propellant that diminishes deorbit capability (OMS & RCS), impending loss of APU/Hydraulics.

These are just some of the situations specifically addressed by the flight rules.  There is a basic order of preference for landing sites begining with the CONUS sites (EDW, KSC, NOR), and then addressing the overseas sites.  The nature of the situation will dicate what is the best available site at the time.

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Online bobthemonkey

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #18 on: 07/05/2007 05:27 pm »
Quote
Zpoxy - 5/7/2007  3:39 AM

Quote
bobthemonkey - 4/7/2007  8:32 PM

Risky! - even using the established 747 IFR recepticle above the radome clearence between the tanker and the receiver would be very tight,

Wrong direction. There were tests done in the late '80s or early '90s on this. The SCA would have been the upper plane in an in-flight refueling scheme. There would have been a refueling boom in it's tail and it would be lowered to join up with a tanker. Then the fuel would have been pumped up the boom to the SCA. The reason for this was the turbulence from a tanker above the SCA would cause cracks in the additional vertical stabilizers attach fittings on the ends of the horizontal stabilizer. This was in either Aviation Week or Jenkins book.

Thanks for that - I'd never heard of that before.

Offline Ikelos

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Re: Returning aborted Orbiter to KSC
« Reply #19 on: 07/05/2007 05:38 pm »
What about an F-18 as a refueler?

http://www1.dfrc.nasa.gov/Gallery/Photo/AAR/Small/EC03-0293-05.jpg

Would take a lot of skills on the pilot of the 747 though since this used the navy refueling method, would also take quite a few refueling shots. But it wouldn't be impossible to use a small jet with large external fuel tanks for refueling. Would also probably be possible to put the probing duty to the backseater in the F-18 with some other method like the AirForce uses.

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