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The Space-Glider (2000) (x-plane.com)
44 points by Tomte 305 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

On a related note, I highly, highly recommend this entertaining and technical presentation by Bret Copeland, How to Land the Space Shuttle... From Space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jb4prVsXkZU

You could also try the shuttle in FlightGear (a free software flight simulator), it's quite impressive, you can fly it with NASA's manual. http://www.flightgear.org/tours/an-experience-like-no-other/

For whatever reason, I was expecting something about gliders from Conway's Game of Life. But this was much more interesting! Thanks for sharing.

You aren't the only one who though of Game of Life. I also expected that and was surprised.

An oddity of the shuttle program (and I wish I could find the exact citation for this now!) is that the orbiter could fly this entire approach and landing on autopilot. But the landing gear button was engineered so that a human being had to press it, ensuring that the Shuttle would never fly unmanned.

This must have been a political decision. The Soviet/Russian Buran has flewn only once, but then autonomously.

It was; the astronaut corps, leery of being engineered out of their profession, lobbied hard for it. If I recall correctly, there's a brief discussion of the subject in The Space Shuttle Decision [1], which I can recommend most enthusiastically to anyone interested in how this unique and remarkable spacecraft, and how the difference came to be so broad between what it was and what it was meant to be.

[1] https://history.nasa.gov/SP-4221/contents.htm

Sounds fixable with nothing more than an Arduino.

you send gliders with fuel as cargo (by mass driver) and when you need to send a rocket to space you send a tiny one with just enough fuel to meet up with a glider to refuel on the way

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