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31

This appears to be a garbled recounting of a problem that occurred during STS-1 entry due to a mis-match between predicted and actual hypersonic pitch trim. Image Source All that happened was that the body flap (see aft of Orbiter on diagram) extended 5 degrees more than predicted (which did cause the body flap to see higher heating than predicted as well)...


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Background Earth's $2 \pi \times 6378 = 40074$ km circumference rotates every 23h 56m 04s = 86164 seconds, so the equator rotates at about 0.465 km/s. At a very low 200 km altitude, orbital velocity is $\sqrt{GM/(6378+200)} = 7.784$ km/s (using the vis-viva equation where GM is Earth's standard gravitational parameter of about 398600 km^/s^2.) Launching ...


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