Tulsa News Station Claims to Have Seen Shuttle


#1

KOTV here in Tulsa is claiming that one of their “SKYCAMS” caught the shuttle on re-entry over SW Missouri. It is moving pretty fast, so it might be true. Link goes to eclips page, look on 11-7-07 for video.


#2

I had trouble finding the clip on that page from your link in the beginning, but I managed to find it somehow. I think this link will work better:
kotv.com/e-clips/?id=9859

Vehicle seems to be moving fast, but nothing in the frames to give any kind of scale. Would the shuttle produce a contrail on re-entry? I may be wrong, but I don’t think it would. I think contrails are produced by hot exhaust. Think about your warm breath expelled on a cold, winter morning vs a hot object sitting there. You wouldn’t see any cloud of moisture coming off the object, only waves of heat rising. The shuttle is just a hot object gliding on re-entry (no engines running). Again, I could be wrong about the shuttle.

I found the following on the matter:
nasa.gov/returntoflight/crew/photo_tips.html

Although it is possible to view a spacecraft reentry with the unaided eye, it is not possible to see the Shuttle reentry if the reentry flight path is in broad daylight since the plasma trail created as the Shuttle passes through the atmosphere is not bright enough to contrast with the sky. Naked eye viewing of the reentry itself is best when the observer’s site has very clear skies, and the observer is in complete darkness or very close to local sunrise or sunset if you know precisely where to look.

Even if you know you cannot see the Shuttle reentry due to lighting or cloud problems, it is possible to hear the double sonic boom from the Shuttle if it is not too far away. It takes sounds about 1100 feet/sec (300m/s) to propagate to the ground; thus if the Shuttle is 200,000 feet (60,000m) away from you at its closest distance during reentry along your line of sight, it would nominally take around 96 seconds for the sound to reach your ears AFTER the shuttle passed that point. For the human ear to detect the boom(s) you should be far away from noises, especially traffic noise.

The video shows the object moving left-to-right. If the film was shot from Oklahoma, the vehicle should be moving from right-to-left (eastbound) as the cameraman would be facing the south as the vehicle flew over Texas.
Reference:
usatoday.com/graphics/news/g … /flash.htm
Click on “Shuttle Breakup” and then select “Debris Map”. I may be wrong, but I think the shuttles fly pretty much the same approach path over the country when landing.

I remain very skeptical that that was the shuttle in the video, but I will stop just short of saying that it is not.


#3

Found the following regarding the above theory:
abcnews.go.com/Technology/story? … 246&page=1

It will cross over Montana; the northwest corner of Wyoming; near Rapid City, South Dakota; central Nebraska; Topeka, Kans.; the southwest corner of Missouri

and

Look for an orange streak with a white tail.

So I guess that shoots the shineola out of that theory! So the cameraman would be facing north and the vehicle would be going left-to-right and leaving a white trail. So, maybe that WAS the shuttle indeed.


#4

If you are intersed Here is the ground track for deorbit to Kennedy on orbit 238. This was an unusual approach in that it took them over more populated areas, not normally done after Columbia. They decided to do this to give the crew more rest, and avoid a night landing.


#5

My daughter had her High School class outside at Carthage Mo. They both saw it and heard the muffled twin sonic booms.


#6

Contrails are produced by condensation, but that condensation is more a product of pressure differentials than temperature differentials. Look at some videos of airliners just past rotation when taking off on a humid day. A better example would be the video of fighters doing high-speed flybys. The “cloud” is formed over the wing, not out the engine exhaust.

If the orbiter was at a low enough altitude for there to be enough air, and the atmospheric conditions right, the shuttle most certainly would produce contrails. (And has.)

That video could not be anything but the orbiter.


#7

Since reading the information in my later post, I’m inclined to agree.


#8

The video was NOT of the space shuttle. The shuttle was still at over 200,000 feet and would not produce a contrail nor would it produce the twin sonic boom (which happens when going twice the speed of sound). The twin sonic boom is only heard close to landing site when the shuttle flies near it at Mach 2. The shuttle was still doing around Mach 20 when over the middle of the country.

I have seen the shuttle re-entry at night when it flew over Waco. I live in Dallas and was able to see the plasma trail very well. It looked like a comet coming into the atmosphere with a very long tail.

Also, the path changes based on the orbit and is not the same path all the time. It just happened that this one was over the US.


#9

Sorry dude, but you blew yourself out of the water there.

  1. The shuttle during reentry heats up. That heat (which you saw at night as the plasma trail) causes the air to literally BOIL around it, leaving a trail of steam (the white tail in the video). You’re right, it’s not a contrail because it’s formed not because of a pressure change but a temperature change, but it is still a trail of water and it does exist on every reentry.

  2. At Mach 20, the shuttle is sure as hell producing a sonic boom. It’s always producing a sonic boom when travelling at greater than the speed of sound. And don’t discount someone saying they heard the sonic boom. I heard the sonic boom when an SR-71 flew over my school in Colorado after the A-10 crash. It was muffled and didn’t break anything, but it was still there. It was at 70,000 feet and doing under Mach 3 at the time as well.

It’s funny, there is tons of video of Columbia over Texas when it broke up. Several of the videos you can hear the sonic boom before the shuttle breaks up and there is a visible steam trail as well. So by your theory, none of these videos can be real because of those two exact reasons.


#10

Not at 200,000ft-
No air= No boom, No tail
Not usually a lot of moisture at any high altitude. Something about the -30f air temp.

Could be the orbiter. But I think it’s an airliner or a fighter (or a Cit.III - yessss). Nothing to give the video scale of speed. Just a blurry close-up.


#11

There’s still about 0.02% of an atmosphere at 200,000ft. The intense heat generated by hypersonic flight causes the air to ionize (what I believe ChrisTrott meant by ‘boil’) and become a plasma.


#12

Not only that, but to pull the reference from earlier directly off the NASA website (emphasis added):

…I found the following on the matter:
nasa.gov/returntoflight/crew/photo_tips.html

[quote]Even if you know you cannot see the Shuttle reentry due to lighting or cloud problems, it is possible to hear the double sonic boom from the Shuttle if it is not too far away

. It takes sounds about 1100 feet/sec (300m/s) to propagate to the ground; thus if the Shuttle is 200,000 feet (60,000m) away from you at its closest distance during reentry along your line of sight, it would nominally take around 96 seconds for the sound to reach your ears AFTER the shuttle passed that point. For the human ear to detect the boom(s) you should be far away from noises, especially traffic noise.

[/quote]

Having seen the shuttle during reentry twice personally, I can tell you that looks like the shuttle when it flew over both times however I was to far horizontally from the reentry path to be able to hear the boom. I was also in Orlando when the shuttle went up and was able to hear the roar of the engines during ascent even from there. Sound travels amazingly far.

BTW, yes, I was speaking of ionization of the air, but “boil” is a bit more descriptive for my purpose. And there is moisture in almost all air, even at 200,000 feet. Because of the speed and heat generated, any water in the air will be vaporized into steam and be at least slightly visible.

Also, if it was an aircraft, there would be a visible separation of the vapor trail from the engines. It is visible even with a tail-mounted twin like a DC-9 or Gulfstream for several thousand feet behind the aircraft. Because this is not present, it suggests that it is not being originated from a powerplant.


#13

I’m a little late on this one, but I saw the re-entry - photographed with a Canon rebel EOS digital and tripod. Had contrails over SW Missouri. We also had a pair of astronomical binoculars and tripod next to the camera. It definitely WAS the shuttle. No question about it…


#14

You are not seeing a contrail - you are seeing a plasma trail. The friction is heating and ionizing the air and causing it to fluoresce. The booms can be heard because the boom is just a pressure wave - at 200,000 feet - or almost 40 miles up = the booms and the sound should appear to move across the sky some minutes after the shuttle comes over the horizon . . . think - sound travels 1100 ft / sec at sea level - slower at less dense altitudes - so the minimum time from 35 miles up is about 3 minutes.


#15

May we see your pictures please?