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Orbiter: Atlantis
Shuttle Mission: STS-112
Date: October 7, 2002

Image: Montage of images including the Space Shuttle and American FlagKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. At KSC's Shuttle Landing Facility, an astronaut participates in Shuttle landing training exercises in the Shuttle Training Aircraft (STA). The STA is a modified Grumman American Aviation-built Gulfstream II executive jet that was modified to simulate an orbiter's cockpit, motion and visual cues, and handling qualities. It is used by Shuttle flight crews to practice landing the orbiter. In flight, the STA duplicates the orbiter's atmospheric descent trajectory from approximately 35,000 feet altitude to landing on a runway. The orbiter differs in at least one major aspect from conventional aircraft; it is unpowered during re-entry and landing so its high-speed glide must be perfectly executed the first time there is no go-around capability. The orbiter touchdown speed is 213 to 226 miles (343 to 364 kilometers) per hour. There are two STAs, based in Houston.


Pre-Launch Video Coverage
Shuttle Training Aircraft Video
(File Footage)

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Part 1 - 303Kb
Image: Shuttle Training Aircraft
An astronaut practices
landing the STA.
(Includes natural audio)

   Part 1 - 1.3Mb

STS-112 photos are online. (Note: This is a graphic-intensive site and may be difficult to view with low speed modems or when this web site receives heavy traffic loads).

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Page Last Revised Page & Curator Information
October 21, 2002 Online coverage by: Dennis Armstrong (NASA), Anna Heiney (IDI)
Web Development: Lynda Warnock & Debbie Barton (FDC)
Video Production: Chris Chamberland & Mike Chambers (Johnson Controls)
Countdown Clock by: Jim Fitzgerald (FDC)
NASA Official: Dennis Armstrong (

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