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  • Space Shuttle Question

    I just watched the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery and something caught my eye.
    Just before the external tank separation, I saw what looked like some sort of cloud coming off the shuttle. Kind of like the cloud that forms over the wings of an aircraft.
    Do any of y'all know what that is? It caught my eye and my curiosity.
    Thanks alot.

  • #2
    You mean condensation? if you can provide a photo, then we can be sure...

    EDIT: like this? If it is, then it is condensation

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    • #3
      I think it is from a few different things. Remember there is no atmosphere when the space shuttle is at the altitude it jettisons the external tank, so there is no way for the condensation that we see on the wings of airliners to form. When they drop the tank, the main engines are cutting off, and when that happens there is all kinds of gases and crap that come out of them, forming different clouds, and there is also a burn of the maneuvering rockets on the shuttle to provide positive separation from the tank. That may be what you see as well.

      I found a video, if you fast forward to 9:50 you'll see the tank separate.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsJpUCWfyPE

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      • #4
        Yeah, I knew it wasn't from the atmosphere because of the altitude.
        At about 10:08, I could see some gas trailing out, so that's what I'm pretty sure it is.
        Thanks for the vid and the input!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by pilotgolfer View Post
          I just watched the final launch of the space shuttle Discovery and something caught my eye.
          Just before the external tank separation, I saw what looked like some sort of cloud coming off the shuttle. Kind of like the cloud that forms over the wings of an aircraft.
          Do any of y'all know what that is? It caught my eye and my curiosity.
          Thanks alot.
          Sorry, classified as a matter of national security.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by pilotgolfer View Post
            Yeah, I knew it wasn't from the atmosphere because of the altitude.
            At about 10:08, I could see some gas trailing out, so that's what I'm pretty sure it is.
            Thanks for the vid and the input!
            No prob!

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            • #7
              That is from thrusters on sides of the nose firing to push orbiter up and away from the ET.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by decker1993 View Post
                That is from thrusters on sides of the nose firing to push orbiter up and away from the ET.
                Yes - first the Orbiters OMS pod engines ignite, then the orbiters attitude control thrusters start firing.

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