So, where do you all think it will land? I’m really hoping it will go to Edwards so I can go see it. Has anyone seen it at Edwards before? How early before hand do you have to go? When will they decide where it is going to go?
Btw, STS-116, my favorite shuttle mission
Still no news on a landing site…
I’ve still never gotten to see a launch or landing in person …(Something I hope to remedy before they retire the STS program)… I did get to see Discovery rolling out to the pad for STS-26 in 1988 for the first mission after the loss of Challenger but I was only 4 at the time and don’t remember too much of that trip.
For those of you who are interested… (I am suffering from not being at Space Camp if you cannot tell) The STS orbiters have only landed in three main locations after their trips to space.
1-Kennedy Space Center (FL) The runway is pretty much a strip of land between bits of protected swamp. Close to the processing facility and launch pad though. NASA prefers to land here because it is easier to get the orbiter processed, and they already have all of the needed equipment there.
2-Edwards AFB (CA) Edwards’ strip is a dry lakebed near Dryden. Edwards is the 2nd choice for landings, usually when the weather at Kennedy is no-go. After landing, the orbiter undergoes some basic service. Removal of any remaining hypergolic fuels and the like; along with attaching the tail cone before the orbiter is hoisted on top of NASA’s modified 747 for it’s trip back to Kennedy.
3-White Sands (NM) The strip has only been used to land an orbiter once. STS-3 (Columbia) landed there in 1982. (Yes, I have finally found a use for all of the “Space Camp the movie” quotes I know.) Aside from the fact that White Sands is not fully up to date… (Landing software & hardware???) NASA will probably try to not land there as it is a bit more sandy/dusty than Edwards… and supposedly they found sand EVERYWHERE when they processed Columbia afterwards… having to clean pretty much everything. Even between ALL of the TPS tiles. But landing dirty is better than not landing. The orbiter would fly back to Kennedy the same way as from Edwards.
Hopefully the weather will clear up in FL and CA, or the weather over White Sands will continue to stay beautiful. I WAS under the impression that it is very hard to get a good view of the shuttle landings but according to a website (HERE) I found it is possible sanddrag. I would not count on getting on-site with so little warning. But there are some off-site viewing areas listed too. If you do get to see it… I hope (nudge-nudge wink-wink) you post ALL about it!!!
One thing White Sands is missing is the crane used to lift a shuttle onto the 747 SCA. They were planning to transport it there and begin to set it up, just as a contingency.
Did they ever complete a shuttle landing facility at Vandenberg, or was it only a launcher?
And with the right deorbit routine, there are a lot of long, smooth runways (usually at AFBs that serviced the big bombers in the 50s and 60s) that a shuttle could land on, in an unusual situation—but since White Sands doesn’t see much weather at all, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Neither. Vandenberg does have a launch pad (I think), but it’s for satellites.
By the way, the news says they’re going to KSC.
SLC-6 at Vandenburg was built originally as a West Coast site for STS launches.