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tv   Reel America Space Shuttle - A Remarkable Flying Machine  CSPAN  April 12, 2021 9:49pm-10:22pm EDT

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featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. on support c-span3 as a public service. on april 12th, 1981, space
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shuttle columbia lifted off with two crew members on board, launching a new era. next on reel america, space shuttling, a 30 minute nasa documentary. 22 years later after 28 missions, space shuttle columbia and the crew were lost when the craft disintegrated on reentry on february 1st of 2003, the shuttle program was retired in 2011. april 12th, 1981, kennedy space center florida, the space shuttle, 14 stories high, 2,000 tons, poised on the pad for its maiden flight. this is columbia, the spaceship
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that will orbit the earth its external tank holds 5,000 gallons of fuel for columbia's three main engines, and the solid rocket boosters, the largest used on any launch vehicle and the first to be employed in a u.s. manned flight. at liftoff, the solid rocket boosters together with the three main engines will unleash more than 6 1/2 million pounds of thrust needed to launch the world's first reusable space craft. never before has a winged vehicle been launched like a rocket, orbited the earth, returned through frictional heating in excess of 2,500 degrees, and landed. still sound to be launched again and again. if it succeeds, the space shuttle will truly be a remarkable flying machine.
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there are many other goals to be reached during the 54 1/2 hour mission that lies ahead. 144 test objectives are planned for the flight. these objectives could not be achieved without an astronaut crew. the commander, john young, the pilot robert crippen. young has already been in space four times for a total of 533 hours. he is the most experienced astronaut flying today. although crippen has over 4,000 hours of jet aircraft flying time, this will be his first time in space. the astronauts make their way across the access arm toward the
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shuttle in the pre-dawn hours before launch. an american spaceship has never carried a human crew on its maiden voyage. at the launch control center, 3 miles from the pad, final steps are being completed in the count down. final preparations are also being made in the mission control center in houston where control of the flight will switch once the shuttle clears the tower. there has not been a manned launch from kennedy space center since the apollo test project in july of 1975. with this launch, young and crippen launch controllers at the cape and flight controllers in houston will experience the most dynamic, fast paced series of launch events ever undertaken in the space program, all in less than nine minutes. the most challenging assent profile ever to be flown by a
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space vehicle. photographers, film and television crews, plus newspaper and magazine writers from around the world, nearly 2,700 of them are here to cover the launch. in addition, approximately 600,000 spectators line the coastal area near the kennedy space center arriving by every mode of transportation. they have come from every state in the union, and many foreign countries. the promise of a rebirth in america's manned space program, and the dawn of a new era in space transportation awaits. >> 14, 13, t minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, we've gone from main engine start.
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>> roger roll. >> the roll will put the shuttle on its precise heading toward an imaginary target in space. >> roger roll complete.
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>> columbia, houston, you're going 40. >> the shuttle is now 40 seconds into flight. >> roger, columbia on a nice ride, you're lofting a little bit, probably be slightly high at staging. >> negative seats. columbia you're negative seats. >> should anything go wrong, the shuttle is now too high for the astronauts to use their ejection
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seats. >> 103 converge. >> tell them all the calls are going to be a tad early because of the hot first stage. >> you're looking a little hot, all your calls will be a little early. >> stand by. >> columbia stand by. >> market. >> mark. >> roger. >> the shuttle can now continue toward nycho, main engine cut off. >> stand by, negative return. >> columbia stand by for negative return. >> mark it. >> mark. >> negative return.
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any revamp is good. >> static. >> sure is. we can confirm it. >> what a view, what a view. >> single engine roda flight. >> columbia you're single engine. >> columbia can land safely at the naval air station in spain even if two of the three main engines should fail. right now, the engines are generating over 42 million horsepower. >> mico confirmed! right on the money. >> the main engine cutoff, columbia is now in space. traveling over 18,000 miles per hour. >> roger, we confirm the step,
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columbia. >> the external tank has just been jetsonned and is now falling away from the shuttle pack toward earth. the tank will break up as planned over the indian ocean when it comes into contact with the atmosphere. shortly by firing the orral maneuvering engines, columbia will achieve orbit, and one of the most important tests of the mission will be attempted, opening the payload doors, the doors must be open before the end of the 6th orbit to expose the space radiator cooling system. if the radiators cannot be exposed, heat collected from the on board electronics cannot be released and the astronauts will have to return home. the olms burns are successful. columbia is now in orbit, circling the earth at an altitude of approximately 150 miles. the payload bay doors will now
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be opened. >> port doors open now. >> roger, copy. >> you are missing one fantastic sight. boy, that is really beautiful out you are missing one fantastic site. that is really beautiful out there. >> we appreciate those updates. both doors have been opened. the radiators can be deployed to begin dissipating the heat. >> doors are all opened up, and hunky dory. ready to depart, right on time. >> and the radiators look good. >> okay we do have a few tiles
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missing off of both of them, off of the starboard pod, it is a smaller piece. and off the port pod, looks like i see one full square, a couple of triangle shapes. >> roger, we can see that good. >> from what we can see, then they are fully intact. >> within minutes, an assessment is completed on the impact these missing tiles could have on the remainder of the mission. at a news conference later in the day, flight director, neil hatch ensign, answers questions from reporters. >> are you asking me if i knew if there might be any other titles that might be loose, the
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answer is no. quite frankly, we are not worried about any other towns being loose. >> is there anything at all that would lead you to say that you might not go for a full duration mission? >> nothing. >> columbia, houston, u.s. did so good were going to let you stay up there for a couple of days. you are a go for orbit. >> this thing is just performing outstanding! >> roger, we agree with that. and columbia, houston, just for information you dropped them right on target, the folks are getting ready to fish them, and bring them back. >> okay, the arrival was pretty neat. >> the solid rocket boosters which separated from the columbia's planned, two minutes and 11 seconds into the flight, landed in the atlantic motion,
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under 50 miles downrange from the launch site. after being towed back to kennedy space center, both boosters will be refurbished and used again in a future shuttle flightrsñ. the third and fourth burns are also successful. raising columbia's orbit to an altitude of approximately 172 miles. for the first television transmission from inside the spacecraft, the crew will give a status report on the mission. >> the flight so far has gone as smooth as it could possibly go. we have every test that we are supposed to do. where upon the line. in the vehicle has been performing beautifully, much better than anyone expected. on the first flight. the systems are out of shape. it is delightful up here. of course, we owe this to a lot
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of people. we certainly want to thank everyone who helped get this think airborne. we take great pride doing so well right now. okay, we are switching over to the camera gear. i would like to echo john's words, as i usually do. i guess being the so-called rookie on this flight, i had a throw from the moment of lift all the way up to what we are doing now. it was really super. the spacecraft has worked as advertised all the way along. i think we have something that is really going to mean something to the country in the world. the echo is performing like a champion, like all of us have worked so long on. it thankfully, really appreciate those comments. >> it was good timing. i think you must have practice. just about to lose. you >> just accidents, says
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robert. none of the other events of the day have been accidental. every test, lift off, separation and recovery, impact, for burns, latch opening and closing test. radiator latch deployed, they have all been successful. >> i guess we owe you one, super attaboy for the day. this is fantastic. you worked through a long, hard day. you're right on schedule. going to be close for the spaceflight like this. first the activity. >> see you tomorrow guys. >> >> good morning columbia.
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welcome today to. all right. i'm sure enjoying. it >> today the astronauts will test on board systems, and also review procedures for tomorrow 's landing. a test of the flight control system is conducted by john young. the flight control system operates columbia's services. the bombs, the body flaps, the surfaces are useless in the vacuum of space. but they will be essential tomorrow, when the shuttle
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lands. this will require position move ability which these services provide. the low bay door cycling tests help to ensure that -- can also be done before entry tomorrow. as with every mission, many pictures of the earth are taken by the astronauts. over 500 on this first shuttle flight. active volcanoes, cloud formations, a louisville fans, giant world pools over 15 meters and they amateur. sand dunes for 15 meters high running unbroken for several miles. the high himalayan's we are mountain peaks reach for the thousand feet. and one of the most remarkable
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space photographs ever taken of the earth. an area in iran exposed to wind erosion which has resulted in these breath taking silt and sandstone protections which look more like a painting than a desert. after lunch on the second day, the astronauts received a phone call from the vice president of the united states, george bush. >> how is it going up there? everything rocking along all right? >> it is great. everybody views. it i am, sure just as the foreigner of great things to come. i think that your trip is just going to ignite excitement and the forward thinking for this country. so i really just wanted to call you up and wish you the very best. >> we appreciate it mister vice president. >> the crew also don and check out the objections they will wear during entry. young, columbia, passed every test. they are ready for the final
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phase of the mission. entry and landing. ♪ ♪ ♪ april 14th, 1981, nasa's flight research center on the edge of the dry lake bed in california. a recovery convoy of 24 vehicles and more than 100 personnel are assembling here to power down columbia after landing. enormous crowds are beginning to arrive. the strength of traffic eight miles long goes down to the base. close to one and a half million people will eventually be on hand to see the landing. on board, the astronaut stood
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up for entry. the asset and orbital faces of the mission have gone extremely well. now the final phase must be completed. before that begins, columbia you have the go for their closing. >> the doors, which have been opened a total of 47 hours during the flight must now become closed. then using the thrusters, columbia woman, head down and backwards. fired the engines one last time, and descent into the earth's atmosphere. >> john, we are all riding with you. >> columbia is out of context during the burn. mission control will not know if this burn was successful, until they are in communication with the spacecraft over australia. it's now in the indian ocean on
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the other side of the world, but it must be per se so that leader columbia will hit the lake bed target in california. >> columbia, this is houston. we are standing by. >> columbia is now committed to entry. within rcs post burn maneuver and several firings, it is oriented to a heads up, headed towards the interface. this is where the atmosphere begins at approximately 400,000 feet. from that moment until the shuttle reaches 165,000 feet it will be in communication blackout. out of touch with mission control for almost 20 minutes. the landing said is almost 4400 miles from entry. chase planes are preparing to
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take off. one will check columbia for any damage just prior to landing. when the shuttle touches a deal here, we will be traveling at 216 miles per hour. right, now it's going more than 17,000 miles per hour. before it lands, it must slow down, lose energy, and it must survived intense heat caused by traveling through the atmosphere at such a high rate of speed. several s turns or reversals are used to slow down and maneuver columbia through that must. this one is done at 256,000 feet, when it is traveling at more than 26 times the speed of sound. ♪ ♪ ♪ this one is done at 208,000 feet. during these two role reversals,
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entry heating is most severe, with temperatures reaching 2500 degrees, some places on the vehicle. theiñ■ aluminum skin will melt t 320 degrees. the silicon tiles must insulate the vehicle from the tremendous heat. since there is no test facility on earth to simulate the aerodynamic and structural environment columbia is in right now, only calculations can be used to predict what will happen during this phase of the flight. the protections and calculations have to be right. >> hello there, houston. >> houston here. how do you read? >> we are down at about 10.3. >> we couldn't agree more, john. your state vectors good.
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>> the entry trajectory, velocity, and position look good. columbia is heading for home. now only 470 miles away. >> and john, we are showing you rolling right. looking good. we are showing positive coastline. we are showing you coast to coast now. >> the shuttle is first cited at about 1000 feet, with a long-range camera from andersonville, california. >> one way to come to california. >> roger. that out of 112 k. we see it, >> we see 21 degrees. >> the role reversal is done
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over in bakersfield, california. ♪ ♪ ♪ that's beautiful. and we are seeing 1.3 gs coming around. >> the astronauts are making the final turn to line up with the runway. >> columbia you're looking good. right on the money. turning on the final. your winds on the surface calm. you are right on the glide slope, columbia. says awful >> looks real good. >> chase reports no tile or other damage evidence
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underneath the shuttle. columbia's altitude is not just over 5000. feet lead. without power, colombia must land. it cannot make another attempt. >> 20,.
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five, four, three, two, one, touchdown. five, four, three, touchdown. >> welcome home, columbia. beautiful. beautiful. ♪ ♪ ♪ we are going to dust it off first. that was super.
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okay, convoy 21. wheels up on the columbia, wheels up. [applause] the maiden voyage of the columbia has been a success. the astronauts and the vehicle have met or exceeded all 144 flight test objectives. the integrity of all the systems, propulsion, avionics, structural, flight control, power and thermal have been affirmed. john young's comments after returning home pm -- >> i can't tell you would tribute that is for the american working men and women as well. you cannot imagine the variety of people who worked on this vehicle. from all walks of life.
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all capabilities and limitations. it's all due to their individual efforts. they have proved that they could do the job, they proved it for the world to see. i am mighty proud to be associated with folks like that. >> would attribute indeed. the columbia represents an achievement in aerospace technology and development never before realized and the history of manned spaceflight. it is our basic building block for the future. >> it's what we have been trying to do for the past ten years. we have a vehicle, a pay load performance that will allow us to do, that much cheaper than we have been able to do it before. it improves the defensive capabilities of the country. it will help develop space science and technology. when we get operational, the space shuttle will be able to do in five to ten years, what would it would've taken us 20 to 30 years to do otherwise. we could not do it. we did not have the space shuttle and that pay load -- the sooner we do those things
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the better off the country is going to be. >> a revolutionary new era in space transportation has just begun. routine access to space. welcome to the future. ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> weeknights this month we're featuring american history programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span 3. on tuesday night programs about jane's k, we begin with john second filler talking about his biography of the nation's 13th president, mr. polk who served as president from 1845 to 1849 maybe best known for the u.s. expansion when mexico is forced to cede much of which of what is today the american southwest. watch tuesday at the beginning of 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. american history tv on c-span 3. every weekend documenting america's story. funding for american history tv

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