posted on May, 18 2013 @ 06:28 AM
reply to post by Zaphod58
I suggest you read the reentry timeline at spaceflightnow.com...
Columbia made several controlled banks using the control surfaces before the breakup.
08:49:32 a.m. - Initial roll. Mach 24.51.
08:50:03 a.m. - MCC-Commentator: "Columbia's altitude 48 statute miles as it begins the first in a series of four banks to dissipate speed as it
descends into the atmosphere, banking to the right now, a steep bank of 60 degrees and approaching the west coast of the United States. Columbia's
speed 16,620 miles per hour, range to touchdown at the Kennedy Space Center runway 3,450 statute miles."
08:50:56 a.m. - MCC-Commentator: "Columbia in almost an 80-degree-bank to the right to dissipate speed, the first of four banks it performs as it
approaches Florida to slow down as it descends. Altitude now 47 miles or about 248,000 feet. The shuttle's speed is 16,400 miles per hour."
08:56:55 a.m. - First roll reversal complete. H=218,817; Mach: 20.76.
08:57:11 a.m. - MCC-Commentator: It's banking now back to the left, the second in a series of four banks that dissipate speed of the spacecraft as it
becomes an aircraft and descends into the atmosphere toward Florida. Wings angled about 75 degrees to the left."
As the aerodynamic drag increased due to the problems, the system applied elevon trims. So, basically, there was enough airflow to use control
surfaces before the breakup. The RCSs were firing to assist elevons in counteracting the increasing aerodynamic drag.
edit on 18-5-2013 by
wildespace because: (no reason given)