posted 12-15-2006 10:41 PM
In watching the orbital track of Discovery/ISS on NASA TV, the track looks like a sine wave. Obviously, this is because the circular orbital track is being superimposed on a flat map. When the shuttle launches or lands, it is heading northeast in the 52 degree inclination. However, when you watch the track of the ISS/shuttle combination, there appear to be periods where the orbital track takes it in a southeast direction over North America. Is it possible to launch/land the shuttle in this "opposite" inclination (i.e. in the "downward" portion of the orbital track)? I presume that it is possible but they do not do it because of the lack of a TAL possibility. Any thoughts or information appreciated. Thanks.