posted on May, 4 2008 @ 06:00 AM
I posted this in the other thread but I'll do it again here:
The flash that you see is a shuttle thruster firing - mostly likely an automatic one. Thrusters are used by the shuttle to maintain attitude or to
move to different attitudes when required. There's typically a deadband of a few degrees that the shuttle's computers will control within - if it
hits a attitude error of ~5 degrees (typical but that's modifiable) in any axis, thrusters will fire to correct the orientation.
As mentioned above, the shuttle sheds quite a bit of ice from different places. It's required to regularly dump water overboard (a byproduct of the
fuel cells), uses a FES (Flash Evaporator System) to reject heat before the radiators are deployed, and even expels human waste. All of this stuff
freezes almost immediately upon hitting vacuum.
The object that you see trending right to left (object 1) is likely frozen crap (figuratively or even literally) that came off the shuttle. The flash
is definitely from the contact of the hypergolic fuel and oxidizer from some nearby thrusters. While the flash is initially visible, the bulk of the
thrust comes in the moments after as the gaseous byproducts of the combustion expand. That expansion of gasses is what caused the change in direction
of object 1 and made it accelerate. Object 2 (AKA the first streaks) which appears to shoot past object 1 could be more ice or the clumped up residue
that collects in the thruster manifolds (unburned fuel that freezes).
The second streak is something I hadn't seen before looking at the video again just now. The thruster firing pushes debris in its path outwards -
more or less radially form the thruster itself. I say "more or less" as the thrusters are, of course, directional. Debris directly in front of the
thruster will be pushed quickly away from the jet in the direction that the jet faces. Debris which is nearby will get a glancing blow of gas that
has already dispersed (and thus decelerated) therefor it will tend to move more slowly and not directly outwards.
Streak 1 is due to debris very close to the thruster (or even in the thruster manifold) whereas streak two is due to more distant debris that got a
The analysis of the video in the above post makes the assumption that the objects are very far away, yet we've got no reason to assume that.
As for the camera moving away 65 seconds later, I really don't think that tells us anything. The INCO officer in Houston will move the camera
regularly and will usually point it at the cargo bay. Besides, if there were real concerns about exposing the existence of secret craft in orbit,
NASA would just they delay the public video feeds or just stop them all together.
As for the video drop-out, this is hardly unusual. Video from the shuttle or ISS requires Ku-Band communication with the TDRS satellites. Ku-Band is
high bandwidth and thus in high demand from other non-NASA users. On the ISS right now, Ku-Band is only available about 30-35% of the time. The
lower bandwidth S-Band is available about 80% of the time but is unable to transmit smooth, high FPS video like you see in this video.
That's my $0.02.
[edit on 4-5-2008 by Credulity Kills]