Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Booster Engine Retrieval - Neat Video

Ever wonder how they pick up the solid rocket boosters after a shuttle launch? NASAtv posted this series of clips. I really like their method of floating the entire booster - they just pop a cork in the back end and pump out the water.

I can also see why NASA is leaning towards expendable launch vehicles - you'd save a lot of money (time, equipment and personnel) if you didn't have to run out and pick up the engines each time you sent something into space. Plus the vehicle wouldn't need to be so extensively engineered. Not that I'm not a fan of the shuttle concept - I don't think regular, private and commercial space travel is going to function without some way of "hopping in your car to pop round Saturn."

Did you see the tumbling boosters in free-fall near the beginning of the clip? It gives you a great perspective on the ballistic trajectory they follow (at least after they've done their job).


  1. Very cool, thanks for posting. Do the boosters free fall into the ocean?

  2. I'm not sure - I think they are slowed down by a drag chute before hitting the ocean.