Saturday, November 10, 2007
Eleven Flights More :(
Mission STS-120 was a space shuttle mission (Discovery) to the ISS that was launched on October 23 and landed this Wednesday the 7th. Sadly however, I was reminded that only eleven more missions will be flown by the space shuttle program until its decommissioning in 2010. On a better note the ISS is one more module closer to completion as the Harmony module (a US module built in Italy as part of a joint ESA-NASA deal) was attached; it is a habitat module, and repairs were also performed.
The ecape velocity needed was 11200 m/s this escape velocity does not depend on the mass of the space shuttle although it may require more or less energy depending on the payload of the space shuttle. The space shuttle escaped earth gravity to enter into a LEO or low earth orbit to meet with the ISS at about 320 km above the earths surface. The value of g at this height is GM over (r + 320km)squared. However, since this is at such a low (comparatively) orbit the value of g here is nearly the same as on the surface. The weightlessness is caused by the effects of freefall.