Space Shuttle scheduled to land near LA this evening, big sonic boom expected

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64 Responses to “Space Shuttle scheduled to land near LA this evening, big sonic boom expected”

  1. ViolettVerq says:

    Ein doppelter Boom.

    or

    Ein doppeltes Bangen.

    or as we would say

    Ein doppelter Knall!

    (I love me some Knall.)

  2. AirPillo says:

    @Airpillo
    The foam didn’t cause damage to the structure, it dislodged some heat tiles, which allowed the heat of reentry to damage the wing structure until the shuttle broke up. A bird could definitely dislodge heat tiles, but by then heat isn’t really an issue. I doubt a bird could cause any significant structural damage I’d say the birds should be more worried than NASA :)

    Oh, I know, but I’ve seen footage of a simulation that was later run by NASA, firing a piece of foam from an air cannon at the leading edge of a 1:1 model shuttle wing edge.

    Many NASA scientists expected the soft material to bounce off with minor damage. The shocking reality was that the foam literally punched a clean hole in the wing’s leading edge, into the interior cavity behind it. It was a very scary result, the kind of damage that I think would change the handling of the shuttle, an already unwieldy aircraft during glide. This was a simulation of launch conditions, though, so I don’t know what bearing that has on glide velocity strikes.

    Here’s a video, for the curious. The latter half is the full-scale testing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suniiico7z4

  3. Anonymous says:

    I thought a car ran over my building…so much for head phones

  4. theawesomerobot says:

    @45 – I actually tried to see the Discovery’s initial planned launch in August, so I know first hand the pain of delays! Ah well, I got to take a nice little tour at least…

  5. jtiii says:

    Okay, that’s all great and everything folks, but did you even watch the video?? The dog’s name is nipple!

  6. Stefan Jones says:

    I was visiting my parents in Titusville, across the Indian River from the space center, when a shuttle landed.

    We’d heard on the radio that there’d be a sonic boom. My mother, uncle, and I walked down to the beach at the end of the road to watch and listen.

    Now, my uncle is an awesomely stubborn know-it-all. He was sure, absolutely sure, that we’d see and hear nothing.

    While were chatting the air was shattered by two enormous BOOOM!!!!!s. Dogs barked, and hundreds of birds took to the air.

    My uncle was speechless for about ten seconds. “Aha!” he declared, “The fired off a cannon to scare the birds away from the shuttle’s flight path.”

  7. arkizzle / Moderator says:

    Teller, my labrador was put down at the grand old age of 16 (112), about two weeks ago. Had her since she was a pup.

    My condolences.

  8. macmichael says:

    When I saw that the shuttle was going to be passing over hear, I went out for a walk. Couldn’t see anything thanks to the cloud cover, though even without it, I don’t know if it would have been visible. The boom hit downtown Long Beach at 5:48pm, according to my phone. Made me smile, but no one else that I saw seemed to pay much, if any, attention to it.

  9. loganbouchard says:

    #34
    “Okay, that’s all great and everything folks, but did you even watch the video?? The dog’s name is nipple!”

    THANK YOU! i just read this whole page trying to figure out if i heard that right!

  10. mdh says:

    I was going for Doppler Gang, tracking the sound for Xeni as the object traveled from far to near to far.

  11. Takuan says:

    ! Unterdoppleerbangen” please!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Gorgeous dog. I love goldens.

  13. Takuan says:

    “Vy wass I not tolt of der Shuttle boom?! Und now ze all lauff at me!”

  14. Takuan says:

    “Mein Fuhrer… you ordered the bunker be soundproff”

  15. Takuan says:

    aye, I had a Golden once too… but I was really drunk.

  16. Anonymous says:

    loved the eyebrows

  17. Takuan says:

    thank you thank you, try the calamari folks, it’s no one I know.

  18. AirPillo says:

    My uncle was speechless for about ten seconds. “Aha!” he declared, “The fired off a cannon to scare the birds away from the shuttle’s flight path.”

    That’s silly, but it makes me wonder what a bird strike might actually do to a shuttle.

    Testing after Columbia was lost suggested that at high speeds even a couple pounds of soft foam could literally punch a big, structurally significant hole in the wing’s leading edge, and birds are harder than foam. Hmmm…

  19. misterdna says:

    Wish I would have known in advance, it scared the shit out of my wife and I — we thought our toddler who was sleeping upstairs had done something awful! And thanks for the image, it shows we probably received some of the most intense boom (being on the coast under the pinkish color).

  20. jfrancis says:

    I was expecting it, thanks to bb, and I still got startled that someone was trying to break in through my sliding glass balcony door.

  21. Teller says:

    Thanks for the video. I buried my Golden in the yard about six months ago. Miss him every day. Wah.

  22. Teller says:

    Thanks, Ark. Same, 16 from pup. When people ask Where’s your dog? I can honestly say Oh, he’s in the yard.

  23. mdh says:

    sounds like xeni has her own dopple gang.

  24. Takuan says:

    nein, einen dopple bangen.

  25. AirPillo says:

    Awesome, its landing vector is going right over my home. I haven’t had free time to see a space shuttle fly overhead for landing since I was in fourth grade and it flew over the school during recess! :)

  26. Takuan says:

    or dopple boomen?

  27. Pantograph says:

    That’s silly, but it makes me wonder what a bird strike might actually do to a shuttle.

    Probably very little. The major problem with “birdstrike” (as if it’s the bird’s fault) is the bird getting sucked into the sensitive turbine blades of a jet engine air intake.
    Shuttles have rocket engines which are exit-only and not (or barely?) used on re-entry.

    The tiles on the outside are still vulnerable, but by the time a Shuttle is likely to encounter a bird it has slowed down enough that the heat resistant tiling isn’t necessary any more.

  28. Sleeper says:

    @Airpillo
    The foam didn’t cause damage to the structure, it dislodged some heat tiles, which allowed the heat of reentry to damage the wing structure until the shuttle broke up. A bird could definitely dislodge heat tiles, but by then heat isn’t really an issue. I doubt a bird could cause any significant structural damage I’d say the birds should be more worried than NASA :)

  29. Anonymous says:

    Redondo Beach checking in…. double BOOM confirmed

  30. WA says:

    I just heard what was presumably the sonic boom over Pasadena; it was rather impressive.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Boom! There it goes, shaking our office building in the Mid-Wilshire area.

  32. Xeni Jardin says:

    JEEEBUS! double boooom!!! Man that was loud and intense!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Just heard it at 5:50 pm in Costa Mesa. Boom Boom.

  34. AirPillo says:

    It was too cloudy here in Covina to catch a glimpse of it, but the boom was pretty impressive. It startled my family while we watched from the front yard. :)

  35. Anonymous says:

    I also heard the sonic boom in OC @5:50PM. Thanks for the tip. Cheers!

  36. Anonymous says:

    San Fernando Valley here, heard it about 5:51 as well.

  37. Anonymous says:

    we thought something was exploding in our house in Mar Vista! Glad this was posted. I thought it sounded like a sonic boom but couldn’t figure out what could be making.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I live by LAX and I just heard it.

    I could feel it in my chest and it set off all the car alarms on my block.

    Pretty exciting

  39. Rindan says:

    With every launch/landing that passes into history, and very likely last-ever flight of a vehicle with wings into space, I get a bit more scratchy about emptying out my meagre savings and taking a trip to the US to watch one or the other. I would *love* to see a launch…

    Well, I can’t put a value on your time. Only you can. That said, I can assure you that the shuttle taking off is easily one of the most awesome awe inspiring things I have ever seen in my life. I saw it take off by accident many miles away. It stopped the cars in the city I was in dead as everyone pulled over to watch. TV doesn’t even begin to do it a lick of justice. You don’t get a sense of the scale of the thing. It is as big as a freaking building and it is riding up on a massive flame. Your mind kind of rejects what it is seeing because it is so god damn big.

    I can’t say much in favor of spending time on that area Florida for a week or two, but seeing the actual take off is incredible.

  40. Anonymous says:

    heard downtown!

  41. Anonymous says:

    So that’s what that was! I just thought the neighbor slammed their door twice successively very hard.

  42. Anonymous says:

    holy crap I just felt this!!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Holy cow!!! That was a BIG BOOOM! Heard it, shook it here in Rancho Palos Verdes…awesome.

  44. Anonymous says:

    LOUD and intense. Windows rattling here in Glendale a few minutes ago.

  45. IWood says:

    #4 posted by Xeni Jardin:

    It’s 6:02PM here…I heard the boom when it landed at Edwards last time. If my math is right I should be hearing it any minute now here in Santa Barbara…

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      Wow this is neat! Looking at the BB comment timestamps, and Twitter timestamps from friends I follow who live in LA, I can see that folks in one area along the trajectory heard/felt it at X minute, and then folks further up the line at Y minute, and those still closer to Mojave at Z minute…. that’s really cool! Literally one minute by one minute by one minute. Cosmic.

  46. jaytkay says:

    I lived in LA for five years, and in that time the shuttle rattled windows better than any earthquake.

    Being a space nerd, I cheered every time.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Wow…way to plan this right on 9/11. My IM was blowing up with people asking me if we were getting bombed.

  48. Shelby Davis says:

    Welcome home, astronauts!

  49. IWood says:

    Welp, it’s 6:18 now. Guess I’m not going to hear it this time. I wonder why? Hrm.

  50. Takuan says:

    bewmmmm? I see a pattern. Of pairs.

  51. Anonymous says:

    Eagle rock, Los Angeles, felt a boom thought it was an Earthquake!, everybody from my neighborhood went outside wondering what it was

  52. AirPillo says:

    Thanks for posting this Xeni, I wouldn’t have known about it without you and probably wouldn’t have heard the booms since I’d have been deep in the middle of the house. That totally made my day, even if I didn’t see it.

    Welcome home Discovery!

  53. Anonymous says:

    I thought it’s 9/11 attack of some sort.. phew

  54. Anonymous says:

    Where does the “58 days in space” figure come from?

  55. ianm says:

    Correction: “Home! After 58 days in space… Welcome home Discovery

    Just FYI the mission duration was actually 13 days, 20 hours, 53 minutes, 45 seconds.

    The ’58 days’ things refers to the following:

    “Friday was the 58th day in space for their crewmate Tim Kopra, who launched on shuttle mission STS-127 in July and spent two months on the International Space Station as an Expedition 20 crew member.”

  56. Anonymous says:

    in van nuys 5;50p.m i heard the double boom. shook my blinds, very amazing.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Way to plan this on 9/11, I was just heading in for dinner when BANG BANG shook the ******* house!

  58. Anonymous says:

    Heard it here in Stanton, Orange County

  59. Anonymous says:

    shook the whole house. in mar vista…really loud!

  60. Anonymous says:

    From the County of Los Angeles, Southgate CA. The double boom was hell of shocking. Recognizing it was 9/11/09 I was expecting to view a forming mushroom. I thought 9/11 hit Los Angeles.

  61. imipak says:

    Bird strikes: yes. http://www.space.com/missionlaunches/090115-shuttle-bird-threat.html

    With every launch/landing that passes into history, and very likely last-ever flight of a vehicle with wings into space, I get a bit more scratchy about emptying out my meagre savings and taking a trip to the US to watch one or the other. I would *love* to see a launch, but the risk of taking two weeks off work and spending a couple of K flying across the Atlantic only for launch to be scrubbed for three weeks… and also, I =hate= travel. Haven’t flown since 1997, and not for “pleasure” since ’85.

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