Yesterday (June 8th) was my 15 min of fame at IHS for which I demonstarted a model rocket launch for my English class. The class was extremely excited and thought that the idea was great and took a lot away from the experience. The main theme for this launch, however, was wind. The wind was blowing from the SW at about 10 mph, which wreaks havoc for a small model rocket on a short field widthwise. As a result, I launched on the very southern edge of the field and when the parachute deployed, it caught the wind and brought the rocket to almost the same exact spot from where it was launched. The moral of this story? Weather plays a HUGE role in any sort of lfight, and it's extremely important to note varying conditions in order to have a successful launch, whether its a NASA shuttle or a small 14" tall rocket. Below, I've included a photo of the full launch setup. Also below is a brief countdown/ignition sequence from space shuttle Discovery's last and final mission that I shared with the class that day, and that I'm sure others will find it just as interesting.
Ignition sequence, and countdown (very brief and general. The real countdown is so long it usually takes days to complete once the shuttle is on the launch pad):
2. T minus 31 s - the on-board computers take over the launch sequence.
3. T minus 6.6 s - the shuttle's main engines ignite one at a time (0.12 s apart). The engines build up to more than 90 percent of their maximum thrust.
4. T minus 3 s - shuttle main engines are in lift-off position.
5. T minus 0 s -the SRBs are ignited and the shuttle lifts off the pad.
6. T plus 20 s - the shuttle rolls right (180 degree roll, 78 degree pitch).
7. T plus 60 s - shuttle engines are at maximum throttle.
8. T plus 2 min - SRBs separate from the orbiter and fuel tank at an altitude of 28 miles (45 km). Main engines continue firing.
o Parachutes deploy from the SRBs.
o SRBs will land in the ocean about 140 miles (225 km) off the coast of Florida.
o Ships will recover the SRBs and tow them back to Cape Canaveral for processing and re-use.
9. T plus 7.7 min - main engines throttled down to keep acceleration below 3g's so that the shuttle does not break apart.
10. T plus 8.5 min - main engines shut down.
11. T plus 9 min - ET separates from the orbiter. The ET will burn up upon re-entry.
12. T plus 10.5 min - OMS engines fire to place you in a low orbit.
13. T plus 45 min - OMS engines fire again to place you in a higher, circular orbit (about 250 miles/400 km).