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Re: Space Shuttle

At 9:49 PM -0700 6/28/05, <jcowens@netscape.com> wrote:
>STS-107. I have no idea what that means ...

The shuttle flights are given numbered designations like that. STS 
stands for Space Transportation System and is another name for the 
space shuttle. STS-107 was the designation for the previous mission, 
the unfortunate Columbia flight. Those are the last elements for that 
mission, from before they started the re-entry sequence.

The upcoming flight is STS-114. The flight numbers start out 
sequential at some planning stage, but as the missions get switched 
around and replanned the numbers stay the same. Thus the missions 
don't always launch in numerical order.

>and when I entered the 2-line data, it produces a tracking window 
>with orbit info shown and other info as though this thing is already 
>in the air.

Keplerian elements don't have a way to encode start and end dates for 
a mission. Any set of keps will always show the spacecraft in orbit. 
That's true of a prelaunch set of keps for a mission that hasn't been 
launched yet, or for an old set for a mission that already ended. To 
find out if the mission is currently in orbit, you have to consult 
some other news source.

73  -Paul
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