Space Shuttle RTLS Abort Challenge - Without The Manual

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Scott Manley

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Shared April 18, 2017

Using the amazing Orbiter 2016 spaceflight simulator I decide to attempt a Return To Launch Site abort using the Space Shuttle - Without the aid of manuals or checklists. The RTLS Abort mode was never actually performed with a real launch stack, John Young famously said “RTLS requires continuous miracles interspersed with acts of God to be successful.”.
Instead I'm going to trust to thousands of hours of simulated spaceflight experience and see how close I get....

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I turned around too early, leaving me with too much energy to hit the runway on the first pass, and turning left me without the energy to arrive at the landing strip without using the OMS to give me a little push.
However, part of RTLS that I managed to forget it that during the powered abort the OMS is supposed to be fired to deplete fuel and push the center of mass on the orbiter forward. I didn't know how to do this in Orbiter. The plan did leave some margin for OMS fuel, but It's not really clear whether it would be viable to fire the OMS in the way I did to help reach the landing strip.
So, yeah this is a sloppy terrible flight, now I should figure out how to simulate this properly with Orbiter mods and try again.