Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Endeavour Coming Home

STS-118 KSC Approach

If its deorbit burn is done on the first KSC opportunity (starting over Indonesia on orbit 201), Endeavour will pass over southern Australia, the Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, and most of the length of Florida before performing its final "energy management" maneuvers for landing on runway 15 at KSC. I watched this happen earlier this morning in simulation, using the AutoFCS entry/landing autopilot for Orbiter that I've written about earlier. It's pretty amazing. Despite extensive use of 10x time acceleration to limit the real time, the "shuttle fleet" simulated Endeavour made a perfect landing quite close to the projected real landing time (projected for 12:32 pm EDT today, simulated wheel stop at 12:34 pm EDT). More pix on Flickr.

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