Incredible Engineering Camera Views of the Space Shuttle in Action

This video is long, but totally worth the time to watch. Whenever there is any issue with the space shuttle, you’ll hear talk about the engineering camera footage that NASA can look at to review with a fine-tooth comb everything that took place during launch and ascent. Here is a look at some of that footage — in high resolution, and in super slow-motion — to provide a glimpse of the intricate details engineers look for. There’s narration, too, to inform you of everything you’re seeing. It’s great.

From the description:

“This compilation of film and video presents the best of the best ground-based Shuttle motion imagery from STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124 missions. Rendered in the highest definition possible, this production is a tribute to the dozens of men and women of the Shuttle imaging team and the 30yrs of achievement of the Space Shuttle Program.”

The video was produced by Matt Melis at the Glenn Research Center, and “provides highly inspirational and educational insight to those outside the NASA family.”

17 Replies to “Incredible Engineering Camera Views of the Space Shuttle in Action”

  1. Ah, the video is 480p, that’s 720 × 480 active pixels. High definition is usually considered 720p and above, or at least 1280×720 active pixels.

    Regards, it’s an interesting watch.


  2. I love it! I remember seeing the very first shuttle launch in 1981 as a sixth grader. Every launch since then has been an exciting event. To me the shuttle is the pinnacle of American aerospace engineering and I will be very sad to see the program end. However, life moves on and so does technology. I can’t wait to see what is next for the manned spaceflight program. Great work guys!

  3. I think I’ve missed something all these years, about how the shuttle sits on the launch pad. It would appear that the entire weight of the shuttle system, fully fueled is held up by the SRBs. The umbilical connections going into the orbiter are not there to support any weight. The whole thing sits on those skirts around the nozzles of the SRBs. And there are 4 explosive bolts for each SRB keeping it in place. So you have the SRBs and the main tank, plus an orbiter hanging off of it like a xmas tree ornament. Crazy engineering!

    1. Naturally.
      Simple logic behind it… the nozzles have to be strong enough to support more than just the weight of the rocket on the ground, they need to handle the incredible thrust that lifts the rocket skyward, they are the “pushing plate” if you will that the exhaust pushes against to life the rocket.
      If they couldn’t support the weight of the rocket on the ground, they’d have no chance of managing the thrust.
      Still, awesome piece of engineering.

  4. It is the most impressive flying machine built by man yet and when we go back to American leadership in the white house I hope the shuttle program will be continued.

    1. Your post contains the error of misplaced attribution: The retirement date for the Shuttle fleet was announced in 2006 by the previous NASA Administrator Dr Mike Griffin and not the current leadership.
      Following on from the loss of Columbia and her crew, the remaining Shuttles were to be kept in service for long enough to honor commitments to complete construction of the International Space Station and now that day is at hand.

      1. Also, the shuttle part fabrication line has long been disassembled (another former leadership initiative), and famously in fabrication no one can put Humpty Dumpty back again – even *if* you have complete specs (doubtful) you need to reinvent the model anyway, so it wouldn’t be “continued … shuttle”, but “shuttle v2.0”.

        The current leadership had no choice in the matter what so ever what I know of, it was the previous leadership that retired the technology irretrievably.

        [Well, technically I think there may have been a formal one or two months window to retract the slaughter of the production line, But I dunno if it was politically possible to reverse the previous leadership initiative without heading into more trouble than today. Then the republicans would have had the opportunity to hound the democrats for their “failure to get rid of old and develop new technology”. So for once the politicians had to, you know, *consider* what they were doing. (O.o)]

      2. Also, note “formal” doesn’t mean “practical”. Perhaps it was too late – it is hard to reconstruct the history because journalists, including science journalists, have been curiously incurious about the actual shuttle and its technology during the interim. Perhaps they wanted the shuttle dead as much as the previous leadership because it was an embarrassment?

        Anyway, I have only relocated _one_ article describing the shuttle production line dismantling. Wow.

      3. Silly me – the simpler theory is that no one was interested at the time. (And the politicians was on the contrary interested to keep the interest down.)

        Also, I goofed, I believe I remember precisely Nancy describing some of the aftermath of the last delivery of the external tank. But the production line dismantling started 2 years earlier, which is the interesting bit.

  5. Wow, what an awesome movie! I’d love to see such a thing on a big screen in a movie theater! But still, thanks for posting!

    Too bad that the shuttle is “so” fragile on its underside. It has been an awesome piece of machinery and I will be sad for a moment, when it’s gone. But we all know why that happens and why it can’t be kept going.

  6. Nice clean launches compare to Apollo launch movie. There is some thing hellish about Saturn V launch with all that ice and flame exploding all over. The rocket technology was almost perfected by those engineers who worked on Apollo. Shuttle was designed in the 1970s. All that you see have been taking place since 1981! United State stopped, we are not going anywhere.

    1. That doesn’t pass the smell test. ISS was developed until 1998 (and is still under construction). US was a prominent nation under that initiative, I believe.

  7. As an engineer, I separate the aesthetic beauty of it (I love rocket porn as much as anyone) and appreciation of the functionality.

    Shuttle is beautiful, but it is one screwed up system from the day it was conceived. It’s like watching Tim the Enchanter (yeah, yeah, it’s in vogue now) – great form, but oh-the-futility…

  8. I was hypnotized while watching the greatest space shuttle video I have ever seen! All of my curiosity has been calmed by watching this so thanks!

  9. AS per usual the shuttle program has had a spin-off exponential! I have always liked hearing about advances in photography and/or imaging! This one sounds way double extra groovy good! Automatically adjusting helmet visor’d be good using the same tech?

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