STS-81 launch visibility

DJLaszlo@aol.com
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 15:14:48 -0500 (EST)

At MECO (Main Engine CutOff) -- 8.5 minutes after liftoff, the Shuttle will
be about 70 miles high and at a point about 250 miles east of Atlantic City,
N.J.  When the engines shutdown, Atlantis will abruptly vanish from view.  It
should be visible for a radius of 700 miles from this point over the
Atlantic.  From Long Island, the maximum altitude is 10-degrees at MECO. . .
this can vary by + or - 5 degrees depending on your location along the East
Coast; folks farther south will catch sight of it earlier that T+7 minutes;
folks to the north get it later.

Lastly, just after MECO, you might see the Shuttle again for a brief few
seconds farther downrange along its trajectory. . . this will be because of
the explosive bolts that will be ignited to jettison the big orange external
tank. 

Quite a show in store for all of us here in the east; well worth getting out
of bed on a lazy early Sunday morning!

-- Joe Rao