During launch, the g-force felt by the crew is directly back toward the engines and maxed out at about 3g. During reentry, it also maxed out at about 3g, but pointed at about a 45 degree angle down toward the heat shield. Were the seats configured such that the crew could take both of these acceleration loads equally well, or did they sit differently between launch and reentry? How were the potential g-forces in an abort scenario handled?


The seats had a back angle adjustment that was changed from the ascent position for entry. Disappointingly, this is not mentioned in the press reference manual (https://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/sts_coord.html) but you can read about the other seat adjustments there.

This excerpt from the Shuttle Crew Escape Training Manual describes the different settings.

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    $\begingroup$ Any idea how much the angle needed to be adjusted between launch and reentry? $\endgroup$ – Lex Nov 26 '18 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ When I get back home tomorrow I will look for more details. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Nov 26 '18 at 1:26
  • $\begingroup$ @Lex I updated the answer. I had mis-remembered which knob controlled the seat back so I replaced the picture. I also added information on the back angle settings. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Nov 26 '18 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ Is the difference between the two positions 8 degrees, 102 degrees, or something else? $\endgroup$ – Roger Nov 26 '18 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Roger The difference is 12 degrees. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Nov 26 '18 at 21:27

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