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Engineers, Pilots Recall First Shuttle Launch on 25th Anniversary
Posted Wed April 12, 2006 @04:35PM
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News There are several interesting recounts of the first space shuttle flight on April 12, 1981. The astronauts called the shuttle "A test pilot's dream" and several Boeing engineers describe their work developing the spacecraft and their feelings watching the first launch.

Zakrzewski describes the engineering work pretty complex for its time. ďIt was a very dynamic environment with the aerodynamics. When the forward booster separation motors would fire, the entire airflow around the Shuttle was disturbed considerably. The shock waves would come over the front nose of the Orbiter. Itís a very unpredictable environment. I donít even think current Computational Fluid Dynamics programs could predict that environment adequately. So we had to do a lot of wind tunnel testing,Ē he explained.

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