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Air Traffic Control vs. Space Shuttle

Air Traffic Control vs. Space Shuttle

We’re coming in a bit hot…

Last week’s first SpaceX crewed flight to the International Space Station (ISS) got me binging on spaceflight-related articles and videos lately. Although I knew the space shuttle somehow returned to Earth by gliding in for a landing like a plane, I really had no idea how this transition from orbiting spacecraft to atmospheric glider worked. I imagined it could make for a pretty unusual conversation with air traffic control (ATC) though:
Helical Scan

Helical Scan

Why is that shiny thing inside the VCR crooked?

Did you ever look into the open door of a VCR (if you were old enough to have access to one years ago) and wonder why that shiny round component inside looked crooked or ‘lopsided’? I remember thinking that as a kid. It looked like it hadn’t been mounted correctly.