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Atlantis Mission to ISS (Orbiter)

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#1 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:24 PM

For those unfamiliar with the free spaceflight simulation software program ORBITER, here is the link for the program:

ORBITER Space Flight Simulator

It is a great way to actually fly some real (and some not so real) spacecraft and to learn a little about spaceflight in general. It also is a great way to make some really pretty pictures of some simulated space missions. Here, the space shuttle Atlantis is lifting off for ISS not long after sunrise from pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center as seen from a vantage point on the east side of the pad:

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#2 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:27 PM

Here is another shot of the launch from southwest of launch complex 39B:

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#3 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:29 PM

Here is a view from the tower at the southern launch complex (39A):

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#4 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:32 PM

Here a view from alongside the shuttle as it continues pitching over after the roll maneuver:

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#5 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:43 PM

Here is the shuttle Commander's view out his left windows after the shuttle has completed its roll:

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#6 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:49 PM

At about 127 seconds after liftoff, the solid rocket boosters separate from the external tank, which we see here from a vantage point ahead of the shuttle:

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#7 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:53 PM

Here is the "Tank-Cam" shot of the boosters falling behind (from a camera mounted just ahead of the oxidizer feed line on the external tank). You can see almost the entire southern two-thirds of the Florida peninsula from this vantage point (over 50 km altitude):

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#8 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:55 PM

Here, the shuttle is continuing on its flight to orbit after SRB separation:

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#9 David Knisely

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:57 PM

After about five minutes of flight, the spacecraft rolls over to provide better communications access:

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#10 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 12:01 AM

After about eight and a half minutes of powered flight, the main engines shut down and the external tank is jettisoned (Cape Cod is seen above the nose of the external tank):

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#11 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:27 AM

Here is orbital sunrise from the payload bay window:

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#12 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:31 AM

Atlantis is now approaching the International Space Station:

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#13 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:32 AM

Here, Atlantis is about to dock with ISS:

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#14 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:33 AM

Here, the manipulator arm of the shuttle is lifting the Leonardo logistics module out of the payload bay for installation on the station.

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#15 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:40 AM

Its re-supply tasks complete, Atlantis now undocks from ISS:

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#16 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:42 AM

Here is Atlantis performing its de-orbit burn while approaching Australia:

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#17 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:44 AM

Atlantis is now in reentry over the Pacific northwest:

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#18 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:46 AM

Atlantis is now undergoing maximum heating during entry:

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#19 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:48 AM

Atlantis is now in the Terminal Area Energy Management, and is doing it final turn around the Heading Alignment Cone, accompanied by a T38 chase plane:

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#20 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:52 AM

Atlantis is on final approach to Runway 33 at KSC.

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#21 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 01:53 AM

Telephoto shot of touchdown at KSC with T38 chase plane and VAB in the background:

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#22 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 02:26 AM

"Houston, Chase-1, Atlantis is wheels-stopped."

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#23 David Knisely

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Posted 03 January 2010 - 03:34 AM

These last three images of the shuttle with a chase plane were created by flying the stock orbiter on the Auto Flight Control System, while flying kev33's T38 Talon add-on for Orbiter. With it, you find out that flying chase with the shuttle isn't all that easy!

#24 RobertED

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 02:21 PM

Great images, David!! Thanks for sharing them!!!

#25 David Knisely

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:33 PM

Thank you. It is fun to create them, as with Orbiter, you can view things from a variety of angles and create interesting situations. However, it is more fun to watch things happening "live", as the animation in the program is smooth and fairly realistic. Actually flying the shuttle is a bit different than letting some computer do all the work. Clear skies to you.






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