Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Discovery: Back in Florida

Discovery just landed on runway 33 at KSC to complete the truly amazing STS-120 mission. As Discovery was passing over Vancouver,BC on the final entry path that took it southeast over the whole United States in under 30 minutes, Houston told Commander Pam Melroy to expect poor communications for a while, "ratty coms from Mach 22 all the way down to Mach 10."

All the way down to Mach 10!?! I don't know why that struck me as funny - something like "when you get from being a space ship down to a relatively pokey ten-times-the-speed-of-sound glider, we'll be in touch." We've been flying people in space for forty-some years, but this is still really, really incredible stuff. Even the routine things, like slowing down to Mach 10.

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