"When We Left The Earth" Episode 6 a Default Space Shuttle STS to ISS Tutorial


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Apr 12, 2008
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"When We Left The Earth" Episode 6 a Default Space Shuttle STS to ISS Tutorial

"When We Left The Earth" Episode 6 a Default Space Shuttle STS to ISS Tutorial
By Adam RodrigueZ (polaris149Tiberius)
Date of release: 06-22-2008 at 22:48 CST (GMT-6)
Revision 1.00 06-29-2008 at 12:29 PM CST (GMT-6)
Launch platforms: Default Space Shuttle Atlantis
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Forward: I was sitting watching the Discovery channel one night and caught the television special "When we left the Earth" of the last and second to the last episodes which delt with the two crashed Shuttles, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the ISS. Instead of intently watching the entire show, I rushed to run my Orbiter simulator and vowed to myself that I would create a workable Shuttle launch program and rendezvous program that would work to allow for enough fuel to re-enter and land at Cape Canaveral. This became a point of a challange to me since I had been testing all sorts of other vehicles in other scenarios for fun, I had not done what needed to be done from the start of my use of Orbiter 2006. A workable default Space Shuttle Atlantis launch program that would allow me to rendezvous with the ISS and still have enough fuel to land safely.

In this tutorial, I will outline just such a program and mission parameters that I hope will become a standard or a base of which comparison and study can occur. A standard flight program using the same vehicle in a standard Orbiter setup that will allow us as a community to begin sharing our different launch parameters. This is really the ultimate goal of this tutorial. We all have the same simulator running on our computers that all have relatively the same calculation capabilities and why shouldnt we begin to compare our combined findings to gather the most efficient and realistic manor in which to fly by.

I therefore submit this tutorial as a beginning to that study. For beginners or for vetrans alike, I welcome need for a standard launch program. Automated or manually flown, we need a model in which to fly by. This tutorial will address that need and I hope it sparks comparison and sharing of information so that the end result is a good tutorial we can all use and share with everyone who wishes to know it.

I will begin to post and edit in the regular way that I do as there is not enough time in the day to post all the things that are needed to begin this effort in one shot. I hope that readers will check the revision date in order to know if information has been changed or added. And so we begin the most basic fundamental flight need this simulator has built in to its system, Shuttle Atlantis STS-101 to ISS and Landing Cape Canaveral.

Mission Brief and Achievements: A Rendezvous at earth in our case is a process that NASA achieved in its Gemini Program and is a simple but very accurate. The concept is to launch when the ISS's orbital plane crosses over your launch vehicles possition (our case the STS-101 Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch Platform)which should be located on Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral, Florida USA. As the ISS's orbital plane begins to cross over our position, we will be launching at an azimuth that will take us to an Equitorial Inclination that matches the ISS's. We will be launching at a window which takes this into account as well as where the ISS in its orbit as well as the rotation of the earth. Since we will be launching into a lower orbit than the ISS, this will mean that our velocity will be slightly faster than the ISS's (i.e. the lower the orbit, the faster you need to go to hold the orbit), so it is reasonable to expect that our launch window should be timed for when the ISS's orbital plane crosses ours, and when the ISS is in front of us so our time to catch up wont be very long.
If we launch when the ISS is behind us, we will have to catch up for a very long time so our window will not have to be historical. It will be based on fuel consumption and that alone will be our goal.

We will be looking for a launch window where these conditions are present. Once rendezvoused with the ISS, we will be attempting to simulate a period of time aboard the ISS conducting spacewalks, transfer of supplies, conducting experiments, and crew transfer etc. for a period of no less than 10 days. Around the 10th day we will depart the ISS, launch a fictional satelite, and then re-enter to land perfectly at Cape Canaveral with several alternate emergency landing locations if needed.
After landing the tutorial will be complete.

This tutorial was created and tested using Orbiter 2006 P1 with Sound ver 5.3, a few basic external MFDs and thats it. You dont need any of the new alternate Space Shuttle Add-ons although I believe this tutorial should work with those Shuttles if amended in some critical points. Chances are, if your using a Space Shuttle add-on you will already know how to adapt this tutorial to complete the same mission objectives this tutorial outlines.

Things you will need to know about:
All Ground Elapsed Times (GETs) will be of the format: GET 000:00:00:00.00 which from left to right will read as:
Days: Hours: Minutes: Seconds. Hundredths of a Second
There are two ways to measure the inclination of an orbit: Inclination relative to Earth's equator (equatorial inclination), and Inclination relative to the eclliptic (the plane of the Earth's orbit). This is called ecllictial inclination. Align Plane MFD alwas shows ecllictial inclination.
Orbit MFD can display either one. Click on [FRM] to switch. 1


Special thanks: 1 pattersoncr for his help with the Inclination information.
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