Update: Liftoff… 40 seconds into flight – now transsonic.
Solid booster separation… 2:20 min – 3200mph. Engines good.
Almost 5 minutes – 5550mph, 62 mi altitude 200+ mile range.
5:30 min – 7700mph
7 min – 12000 mph – 4 mi/sec – powering down to 3G soon.
8 min – 15000 mph
8+ min – main engine cutoff and ext tank separation good
Orbital insertion at altitude was perfect – no OMS burn required. Sweet.
Whew. Good job folks!
To me, this is a bittersweet thing. That the program could go so long with so few fatalities is fantastic.
It’s also the end of an era, and our political leaders lack the vision, spine, and guts to ensure that we remain the leaders in the space arena.
2 minutes to the final space shuttle launch – Atlantis.
Good luck and Godspeed, gentlemen (and women).