One of the numerous reasons RTLS was the least preferred choice is

  • For a safe separation, the ET must contain a maximum of 2% propellant remaining at Main Engine Cutoff (MECO).

How would TAL do away with ET's unspent propellant safely so the orbiter can separate and later land?

What maneuvers can the vehicle perform to increase or decrease fuel spent while traveling to target airfield? Various kinds and timings of original cause of the abort should call for those, right?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm not quite clear on what you are asking - what does 'so it can land' mean? Is "it" the tank or the orbiter? Are you asking about impact zones for the ET, or about constraints for TAL ET sep? If the latter, RTLS constraints may not apply. Basically I don't understand the last paragraph. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2023 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble I'm pretty sure the question is asking how TAL sites are selected such that they can burn to MECO so the propellant content is low enough for a safe separation and have the required energy for the orbiter to reach the site without over or undershooting $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    May 12, 2023 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Tristan could be. Hopefully OP will chime in. $\endgroup$ May 12, 2023 at 15:16
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble did what is within my capabilities. Would appreciate further clarification requests! $\endgroup$
    – Vorac
    May 13, 2023 at 15:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Vorac TAL didn't have the same kind of ET propellant restrictions that RTLS did. It was more like a uphill MECO - the concern was more about running out of prop before reaching MECO targets. I wrote an answer but deleted it, because I really don't know what to say about it. I could write an answer about TAL MECO targets, but they don't have anything to do with prop remaining. Perhaps someone else will write an answer. $\endgroup$ May 13, 2023 at 15:42


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