Date: October 7, 2002
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.