posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 01:08 PM
Theres basically "windows" in which NASA uses the most of Earths gravity to propel the Shuttle towards the ISS without using as much fuel as
possible. Basically if the shuttle went straight up then Earths rotation and drag would mean theyd need a significant HUGE spacecraft to get it out of
Earth orbit, this is the reason the Shuttle and any other craft conducts a "Roll" manouver about a minute into flight, to capture Earths rotation
and use this (along with the boosters) to propel it against gravity.
Also with this factor means you have to at some stage dump those boosters, and you cant just launch anywhere as boosters coming down over Cuba or
other landmass countries wouldnt go down well. So NASA has to time the jettison of both the 2x SRB and external tank perfectly.
Then you have to take into account the ISS is already doing a x45 minute orbit of Earth in which you have to get the shuttle from 0 to almost 7 miles
a second within the space of a day simply to play catch-up, aswell as avoiding debris, other satellites etc.
Then take into account for landing you have to do all of this but in reverse, manouver the shuttle into the correct alignment for landing whilst going
into LEO, pitching, avoiding debris and so forth.