What altitude did the space shuttle normal target for orbital insertion on ISS rendezvous missions?

In the likely case that there isn't a single typical number: can you give a number the shuttle might have targeted in such a mission?

I'm just trying to get a feel for how high orbital insertion might have been on at least some occasions---mostly to have some reference to guide my intuition, since right now I have absolutely no numbers in mind to help me. Any number is better than what I have now...


1 Answer 1


This is from the STS-127 Flight Requirements Document. I added the arrow.

Space Shuttle flight requirements, with an arrow indicating an insertion altitude of 122 nautical miles

  • $\begingroup$ Ah!!!! This is so completely and totally and awesomely perfect! I couldn't have asked for more. Thank you thank you. Yes, this helps so much. Thank you :) $\endgroup$
    – user36480
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ Question, @OrganicMarble: I see the 51.6 deg orbital inclination there, which you'd get with a ~45 degree launch azimuth (which you'd get by rolling the launch vehicle to 45 deg north of due East if launching from Kennedy). What would the horizontal situation indicator show during launch? It would be the 45 deg north of due East, right? And once you settled in orbit, am I right that the HSI reading would vary with your latitude (if latitude still makes sense for things in orbit)? $\endgroup$
    – user36480
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ @a1ex that is something I would have to look into. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 1:50
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    $\begingroup$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 20:41
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    $\begingroup$ @a1ex regarding the HSI, there's a video of a simulation run from STS-135 integrated training here youtube.com/watch?v=nbeAbWzyYDs you can watch the behavior of the HSI realtime. And you can read about it in the SCOM. "The mission-defined target insertion plane is defined to be 0° on the compass card and the magenta-colored course arrow points directly to 0." $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 21:22

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