Here is a brief dramatic of the Space Shuttle launch and reentry:
- You get on this plane like thing that is strapped to an orange fuel tank that looks more like a huge bomb.
- The fuel tank is strapped to 2 missile looking SRBs that actually have explosives charge in them.
- Takeoff (YAY), but then, your stuck to this constellation of things for 2 minutes until the 2 SRBs gets jettisonned and you know what, there is no abort / launch escape system like Apollo or Soyuz where you press a button then you go flying in the air then fall back down safely.
- Once the 2 SRBs are gone, you're flying plane with no interior fuel tank is flying with this orange thing until you wanna get rid of it.
- Congrats, you are now in orbit.
- You're travelling at a speed of... let's just say way too fast.
- You only have 2 little propusion things that can slow you down because, duh, you threw out the only fuel tank for the main engines like long ago during your way to orbit.
- Once you get into the atmosphere, you turn around and use the air to slow you down. BUT WAIT, that air is also trying to burn you toast. So NASA helped you by putting on a heat shield.
- Now that you can get back without being all burned and crunchy, you have wings.
- Wings provide lift, you have speed, BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO GO BACK INTO SPACE. So you have to do some weird maneover to go down slowly.
- Now you see KSC runway 33, great, but guess what, you are a flying brick. You know how NASA trains their pilots, by putting them in a small plane, going up high, putting the engines on reverse and opening the gears to augment drag.
- Now remember, you have no fuel and only one shot to land. Your descent angle is way worse then a 747.
- You landed.
- Congrats, you're on earth.
So which one is actually harder??