Friday, May 22, 2009

The Space Shuttle could shatter into a million tiny pieces if it flies into rain

SHOOT: Amazing piece of hardware. Rain could destroy it. Wow.
clipped from
In this image from NASA TV the crew of Shuttle Atlantis hold a news conference

"The shuttle cannot fly in the rain because those tiny little water droplets of rain when they hit a tile and the Shuttle is traveling at say 300, 400, Mach 2, at those kinds of speeds, it acts almost like a bullet hitting that tile. The tiles are very brittle and fragile on their outside, so they can't stand to hit raindrops going at high speeds.

But to make things even more exciting, the shuttle's engines aren't even used during landing, turning Atlantis into what astronauts call a "brick with wings":

"Once the orbiter's in the Earth's atmosphere, the rocket engines ... are no longer used, and the orbiter really is just a brick with wings and they only have one shot at landing, there is no way to pull up and go around if they missed the runway by any measure.

Did you know?

During shuttle Discovery's liftoff in March, a small bat clung to one of the external fuel tanks. According to a NASA wildlife expert, the bat most likely had a broken wing or was injured in some way
 blog it

No comments: