How to Land the Space Shuttle... from Space
How to Land the Space Shuttle from Space

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NOT AN ASTRONAUT; NO AFFILIATION WITH NASA. I was dressed up for Halloween. Presented on October 31st, 2016 at Stack Overflow’s Remote Meetup in Philadelphia. #PhillyCheeseStack If you want to try landing the shuttle for yourself for fun, try F-Sim (I have no affiliation... just a fan). Sorry about the autofocus (we disabled it in later talks). Me running around on stage didn't help. As always, send complaints to Steve. If you're interested in more details on reentry and landing, I also wrote an answer on Stack Exchange Aviation: --- This was one of nine "Tiny Talks" given over three days at the meetup. Every year, employees submit Tiny Talk ideas on a wide range of topics (some completely random and not company-related at all, like this one) and we vote on which ones we want to hear. So, thank you to my coworkers for voting me in. Original proposal description I submitted for this talk: Let's say you're traveling at about 17,500 miles per hour (28,000 km/h) in low earth orbit, your main engines are out of fuel, and it's your job to guide the spaceship through a fiery re-entry without burning up or skipping out of the atmosphere, navigate to your landing site, and arrive with just enough energy to make an unpowered landing on a runway which is halfway around the planet from where you started. And, of course, either you succeed on your first try, or everyone dies. So, no pressure…. In this talk, I'll show you how space shuttle designers, pilots, and autopilots managed to do just that. --- All real-life photos and videos (except the last slide) were produced by NASA. Everything that looks hand-drawn was done by me on a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet in ArtRage. Animations were done in After Effects. Between the concept, outline, script, artwork, animations, rehearsals, and editing, I spent somewhere around 200 hours over two months working on it. Very little time was spent researching. In case it wasn't obvious, I've been more than a little obsessed with the topic for years now.


Seraph X2 : Wow....not a single laugh at the CSS joke. Not many developers in that room.

mips : Thanks for the metric values, very few americans do this.

Yeruham the Deep-Fried Goldfish : 10:27 the CSS joke is underrated

NebuLex : 16:39 Pilot: You’re a little bit high Commander: I agree

Tech News for Tech Noobs : "It's one of the longest runways in the world"... Well, now we know where they filmed that last scene from Fast & Furious 6 on now.

Rob : I watch this video once a year. Absolutely amazing! Also it's nice that OP is still replying to comments.

mr1337357 : Kennedy Space Center Tower: STS-135 go around STS-135: ...

Doctor Jones : instructions unclear, shuttle stuck in cuba

elneutrino90 : How to land a brick on a pencil from another room without looking

Twig : Not the cost effectiveness they hoped for. Nor did it carry the heaviest payloads. But damn the Space Shuttles were amazing.

Eastern Spotter 1969 : Shuttle Atlantis go around Skyhawk 172 cleared for landing

TheRagingCanadian101 : Nice tutorial 100% would fly again 5/5 Stars

Jojo Labuguen : Pilot: You look good Commander: I agree then they embrace...

Cheb : Thank you for this video, was having some problems landing mine.

LuaConstructor : He protecc, He attacc, but most unfortunately, He got no engines in the back.

Shishaka : 13:14 shit's so slow, that the night turned into the day

Eric V : So if you under or overshoot the runway you pretty much die

Gerald LeClair : "Space X interview" So what qualification do you have to fly for us? Sir I watched this video twice. !!!!

truth betold : Wow I had no idea There was actually that much involved In the landing . That's amazing

TheComputec : ATC:- "Shuttle 001 this is ATC Kennedy, we have a lot of traffic right now and a delay on runway 2. I'm going to need you to hold at 6,000 and await confirmation for your landing slot... confirm, over" SHUTTLE 001:- "I don't think you quite understand what's going on here" ATC:- "Shuttle 001, Repeat we need you at 6,000 and hold... confirm over" SHUTTLE 001: "ATC We've landed... Thanks for all your help"

Ziggy Stardust : Excellent communication of the complexities of reentry and the energy management of a Space Shuttle reentry. I like that you can impart such energy to your explanations without sacrificing accuracy! It's astounding to me that they never got the energy management wrong on all of the Space Shuttle approaches.

Sean McDonough : 3:47 - And since this isn't Kerbal Space Program _[citation needed],_ we can't just use our engines as a heatshield.

cdeacious : Started watching it, thinking I would close it after the first few minutes, stayed for the whole thing. Well done! First comment I have left in years.

Igor Flexus : "We better turn on the landing lights! --No, that`s just whay they expect us to do"

Anonymous : NOOO WHY DID YOU RETIRE FROM YOUTUBE Come back plssss

DeShawn 'Dawg' BNBG : People on YouTube tell me that the Earth is flat and stationary, so this won't work.

Sean Lee : Bravo, Bret - great job. I found your description of landing captivating as you mixed your great respect for the aerodynamics, engineering, piloting and multiple constraints. When you described it, I’m thinking: “this is a dumb idea!” But we did it! Many times over! It’s clear you geeked out a bit ... but you *love* it - and that’s remarkable! Even, touching. We need guys like you to be virtual docents who can accurately and passionately explain to us why what they achieved was so marvelous. And just maybe ... inspire younger aspiring Elon Musks to say: we can do this better!

Image Aviation : Or you could rename this title: How to land in Infinite Flight.

Rexuz : The aliens have been in orbit for centuries. When this video pops up in their recommended we are all in trouble.

Nick : At least we've got X-Plane.


ryan xie : Now lets try this out on kerbal space program

merlinthegray : "Turn your HUD up a little if you haven't" Great pilot. I love that kind of attention to detail.

pop5678eye : Fun fact: the only space flight of the Soviet equivalent of the Space Shuttle, the Buran was completely unmanned. It was able to do a similar precision landing completely computer-guided.

Luke skywalker The Starfleet commander : Right now SpaceX uses 64bit version of Ubuntu Linux to control their rockets.

Friendly Fire : Must be *Kerbal Space Program* guide.

Tracomaster : "imagine getting on board of a space shuttle during de-orbit burn and hearing these words:"does anyone know how to fly this thing?".

Krystyna Doran : As a Navy aviator (technician, not a pilot), what got me was that the computer bank he showed looks EXACTLY like the ones we still use in F18's in 2018 lol. And we used a lot of the same terminology, including SSD.

Andries Keyter : I don't know what your real life job is, but you would make a brilliant science teacher!

Henrique Ourives : So, Turns out that the earth *spins...* My god was this simplified

dani : Space x = hold my boosters Actually give em back I need them for landing

Useless Duck Company : You have a talent for explaining things in a manner that is clear and entertaining, you need to make more.

Martino Filippi : at 37000 ft and we will land in 3 and half minutes... That's seems good

Simply Space : Yup, living in a state of denial. Guilty as charged.

Samuel Atienzo : I love how he paces back and forth. He’s just so excited to share his knowledge with his audience which makes this talk so engaging... space is amazing ⭐️ 👌

lucas min : You also can't stop banking yourself lol... Just stop walking 🤣🤣🤣

cole royer : now i know how to land the space shuttle ill keep it in mind if i ever have to land one lol

paul bennett : I watched every Shuttle landing I could - not easy in England. What a magnificent aircraft!

Sil Marillian : am a light aircraft pilot its a falling brick ,controlled contact with the ground.Brilliant presentation many thanks