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Countdown to the last liftoff: returning to flight with the best light

By: sclaypoole
NASA mission STS-114 in July 2005 was the Space Shuttle's first "Return to Flight" two years after the loss of Columbia.  The Columbia Accident Investigation Board had determined that insulating foam that had popped off the external tank (ET) had hit and created a hole in Columbia's left wing. Therefore, ensuring clear illumination of the ET during the next launch was critical. Engineers at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston turned to STK to determine which launch windows would provide the best view of the tank for critical photography when it separated from the orbiter after ascent. Read the full case study detailing STK's role in engineering analysis for NASA's imagery system.
Posted: 7/6/2011 6:10:31 PM