sfg, you're right. The Shuttle does not use any engine power when it's landing. After it fires it's Orbital Manuevering thrusters to degrade its orbit for reentry, it's basically a glider.
It's really cool when it lands, all you hear are the sonic booms and then nothing.
Does anybody know how they get the shuttle from Edwards back to Kennedy? I don't remember any times when the shuttle landed outside of Kennedy, so I'm curious.
I just read on CNN.com this morning that it "piggy-backs" atop a 747 all the way back... I seem to recall seeing pix like that a long time ago, so that sounds vaguely familiar.
The shuttle will be loaded on top of the 747 using the Shuttle Mate-Demate Device (MDD)
Once on and ready to go, they ferry the shuttle back to Florida ala Moonraker.
I was at Edwards Air Force Base on Sept 15th, 1986 and we saw the Mate-Demate Device and the 747 sitting in front of it.
This was my 2nd trip there, I was in Vegas during the Challenger disaster (Jan. 28, 1986). God I remember that day, we were driving out to tour the Hoover Dam and the radio was on and we heard the news. I just sat there not believing what was going on. When we returned to the hotel, my friend was in the room watching TV and said "You better look at this Dale".
What I saw was the rerun of the liftoff and then...
I knew and I broke down, damn that bottle of tequila went down. One big glass in one shot.
We were in the casino at the Imperial Palace later that day, all the TV's were on then came the speech from Ronald Regan. You could hear a pin drop as all eyes were glued to the TV's.
"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and 'slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.' "
We drove out to Edwards the next day but as we expected, it was closed. I returned that September with 2 friends and we took the tour, damn glad I did! This was the place where people and machines with the Right Stuff