Live Shuttle Landing

The Space Shuttle Discovery is about an hour away from it’s “de-orbit burn”, where they flip the craft upside-down, and fire their engines. It falls out of orbit and becomes a very expensive glider. I highly recommend a trip over to NASA TV where you can watch the transition happen.

What I do not recommend is that you wait until the last moments before landing to load the video stream. Last year, the RealPlayer stream, which I had been running smoothly in the background for a good half hour before landing, failed on me literally seconds before touch down. I blamed all those Fair Weather Shuttle Watchers who hadn’t put in the hours beforehand, overloading the system at the eleventh hour. By the time the stream came back online, the moment had passed and the crew were out on the tarmac.

The same thing happened in April 2005 when the new Pope was chosen. All morning I had been vieiwing the BBC PopeCam, which was pointed at the Sistine Chapel Chimney. So it came to pass that I noticed the white smoke before the crowd in St Peter’s Square. But yet again, when the time came for the actual announcement, the stream became overloaded when thousands of rapturous Catholics followed the same link. “Habemus Papum! The new Pope is…” Crackle. Zip.

UPDATE: Landed at 1315 GMT, and I got to see the whole thing.

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