Sunday, February 2

"5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... Goodbye, Columbia" by Gregg Easterbrook
If you get twisted back around toward the Cape,' you blow the fuel tank off and glide home. If the beast is too badly wounded to land, but you can slow it down to a few hundred m.p.h. before you splat into the water, you're okay. At that speed you can eject.

But you're in luck-the launch goes fine. Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back.

But let's not worry about the tiles. The tiles should be okay. They're certainly spending enough time on them. So once you get back into the atmosphere, the mad joyride begins. You have no power now, the engines are spent and switched out. You get .one shot at a landing. Originally the plans called for a couple of regular jet engines to give you enough power to maneuver, or maybe go around for a second approach if the first one doesn't line upright. But jet engines got killed in the cost-cutting. A billion-dollar ship, and this is how they were cutting costs ....


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