spaceline.org

Contact Spaceline

Spaceline Home/Site Index

Launch Schedules

Spaceline Logo Cape Canaveral Florida

spaceline, inc.

About Spaceline

Spaceline Photo Gallery

Gift Shop



SPACE SHUTTLE APPROACH AND LANDING TESTS

 

Written and Edited by Cliff Lethbridge

 

A series of Space Shuttle Approach and Landing tests were conducted by Space Shuttle Enterprise in association with Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) N905NA between February 15, 1977 and October 26, 1977. These flights were divided into four categories.

 

1. Taxi Tests were intended to verify the taxi characteristics of the SCA on the runway while mated to Space Shuttle Enterprise. The Taxi Tests did not involve any flight time. No crew was aboard Enterprise for the three Taxi Tests.

 

2. Captive-Inert Flights were intended to verify the handling characteristics of the SCA in flight while mated to Space Shuttle Enterprise. No crew was aboard Enterprise for the five Captive-Inert Flights.

 

3. Captive-Active Flights were intended to determine the best profile that Space Shuttle Enterprise should observe in separating from the SCA during upcoming Free Flights. Captive-Active Flights were also intended to refine and test crew procedures and verify operational readiness of various Enterprise systems. Two astronauts were aboard Enterprise for the three Captive-Active Flights, although Enterprise remained mated to the SCA for the duration of these flights.

 

4. Free Flights were intended to verify the airworthiness of the Space Shuttle design, test on-board systems and test both manual and automatic Space Shuttle landing methods. Two astronauts were aboard Enterprise for the five Free Flights, during which Enterprise was separated from the SCA by the detonation of explosive bolts. Enterprise would then complete a free flight and landing.

 

All Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Tests were conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, California, with landings either at the concrete runway (04/22) or the dry lake bed runway (17).

 

SCA Crew For All Tests:

 

Fitzhugh L. Fulton, Jr., Pilot

Thomas C. McMurtry, Pilot

Louis E. Guidry, Jr., Flight Engineer

Victor W. Horton, Flight Engineer

 

Enterprise Crew #1:

 

Fred W. Haise, Jr.

Charles G. "Gordon" Fullerton

 

Enterprise Crew #2:

 

Joseph H. Engle

Richard H. Truly

 

Taxi Test #1:

 

Date: February 15, 1977

Maximum Speed: 89 m.p.h.

Braking Speed: 27 m.p.h.

Runway: Concrete

 

Taxi Test #2:

 

Date: February 15, 1977

Maximum Speed: 140 m.p.h.

Braking Speed: 23 m.p.h.

Runway: Concrete

 

Taxi Test #3:

 

Date: February 15, 1977

Maximum Speed: 157 m.p.h.

Braking Speed: 57 m.p.h.

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Inert Flight #1:

 

Date: February 18, 1977

Duration: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 287 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 16,000 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Inert Flight #2:

 

Date: February 22, 1977

Duration: 3 hours, 13 minutes

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 328 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 22,600 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Inert Flight #3:

 

Date: February 25, 1977

Duration: 2 hours, 28 minutes

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 425 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 26,600 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Inert Flight #4:

 

Date: February 28, 1977

Duration: 2 hours, 11 minutes

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 425 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 28,565 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Inert Flight #5:

 

Date: March 2, 1977

Duration: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 474 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 30,000 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Active Flight #1:

 

Date: June 18, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Haise, Fullerton

Duration: 55 minutes, 46 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 208 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 14,970 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Active Flight #2:

 

Date: June 28, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Engle, Truly

Duration: 62 minutes, 0 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 310 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 22,030 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Captive-Active Flight #3:

 

Date: July 26, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Haise, Fullerton

Duration: 59 minutes, 53 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Maximum Speed: 311 m.p.h.

Maximum Altitude: 30,292 feet

Runway: Concrete

 

Free Flight #1:

 

Date: August 12, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Haise, Fullerton

Duration: 5 minutes, 21 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Launch Speed: 310 m.p.h.

Launch Altitude: 24,100 feet

Landing Speed: 213 m.p.h.

Runway: Dry Lake Bed

 

Free Flight #2:

 

Date: September 13, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Engle, Truly

Duration: 5 minutes, 28 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Launch Speed: 310 m.p.h.

Launch Altitude: 26,000 feet

Landing Speed: 225 m.p.h.

Runway: Dry Lake Bed

 

Free Flight #3:

 

Date: September 23, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Haise, Fullerton

Duration: 5 minutes, 34 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: On

Launch Speed: 290 m.p.h.

Launch Altitude: 24,700 feet

Landing Speed: 221 m.p.h.

Runway: Dry Lake Bed

 

Free Flight #4:

 

Date: October 12, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Engle, Truly

Duration: 2 minutes, 34 seconds

Enterprise Tailcone: Off

Launch Speed: 278 m.p.h.

Launch Altitude: 22,400 feet

Landing Speed: 230 m.p.h.

Runway: Dry Lake Bed

 

Free Flight #5:

 

Date: October 26, 1977

Enterprise Crew: Haise, Fullerton

Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second

Enterprise Tailcone: Off

Launch Speed: 283 m.p.h.

Launch Altitude: 19,000 feet

Landing Speed: 219 m.p.h.

Runway: Concrete

 

Copyright © 1996-2012 by Spaceline, Inc. All Rights Reserved.