Re: shuttle and iss

From: Fred Valcho (
Date: Fri May 14 2010 - 22:20:58 UTC

  • Next message: Roger: "Re: shuttle and iss"

    Pretty good stuff Gavin. The ISS is at an orbital plane of 218.52 miles, while the shuttle at this point in time, is at an altitude of 130.44 miles. And I believe these distances are in reference to mean sea level.
    From: Gavin Eadie <>
    To: Fred Valcho <>
    Cc: Roger <>;
    Sent: Fri, May 14, 2010 3:08:18 PM
    Subject: Re: shuttle and iss
    The Shuttle is launched into a lower orbit than the ISS where it's orbital period is shorter.  So if (not accurate numbers, though the real numbers are readily available) Atlantis takes 90 minutes to travel once around the earth and ISS takes 92 minutes, the Shuttle will get 2 minutes worth of orbital time/distance closer on each revolution.  As it gets closer, the Shuttle's orbital altitude is raised to slow the rate of approach.  Once they are, essentially, in the same orbit but a few miles apart, the final maneuvers to complete rendezvous and docking trim the orbital parameters so both craft will be in the same place at the same time.  Within a thousand feet or so, though still acting on both vehicles, the orbital dynamics are dominated by a pretty normal straight-line approach.
    It is a fascinating set of math problems!!  Gavin
    On May 14, 2010, at 5:41 PM, Fred Valcho wrote:
    You are correct on the ISS location at Atlanta launch. The Shuttle will catch up to the ISS, but it will take a few orbits, not sure how many though. Maybe someone else has that information. The altitude adjustment will be made with on-board rockets. 
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