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Bat on the Shuttle

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gpoehlein

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Actually, I was a bit saddened by the somewhat sadistic glee some were getting out of this. I read one news report that said something to the effect that they could see the bat desperately hanging on in the high res imaging. Of course, I'm quite certain the poor creature did not survive the re-entry of the shuttle tank.
 

georgegassaway

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Of course, I'm quite certain the poor creature did not survive the re-entry of the shuttle tank.
Well, it is too bad this happened. But there is no point in making a really big deal out of it compared to all the birds and other animals that get hit by cars, trains, planes, and so forth. This was a much higher-profile thing publicity-wise, and also because it is such a rare thing, but let’s not blow it all out of perspective.

In any case, the bat never would have hung on thru the climb into space, never mind re-entry (never mind being unable to breathe in space and the total vacuum of space beyond simply not being able to breathe).

At some point into the launch the bat would have been blown off by the airflow. Surely in the first 30 seconds, if not the first 10 seconds, or first 5 seconds. And the airflow would have pushed the bat... well, let’s just say it would have been over REAL fast once the bat came loose.

At KSC, workers were looking for the remains of the bat near the launch site, but have not found anything so far.

Actually it is my understanding that anything alive (or at least humans) within 1/4 mile of a shuttle taking off would be killed by the acoustic overpressure (sound shock waves). They do set off sirens and noisemakers to try to get wildlife scared away at launch time. But nothing is 100% effective.

- George Gassaway
 

abw

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Yeah, too bad for the bat I guess, but it's not the first fatality in space flight; think about all of the Soviet space dogs and chimps that perished due to "technical failures."

I had never thought about the shock waves, but I suppose that would certainly have a large impact on wildlife in the area.
 

Pippen

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Brings new meaning to the term "Batmobile".
 

Microspeed

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ok...so when it blew off....did it impact the orbiter?
I was watching the live feed leading up to the launch, and I remember them discussing this as one of the issues they were looking into before flight. IIRC, they determined that it would not pose a threat to the shuttle if it fell off, and also, it was on the opposite side of the ET from the shuttle, so even when it did drop off, it likely wouldn't even come close.
 

sandman

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Yeah, too bad for the bat I guess, but it's not the first fatality in space flight; think about all of the Soviet space dogs and chimps that perished due to "technical failures."

I had never thought about the shock waves, but I suppose that would certainly have a large impact on wildlife in the area.
Laika the first "space dog's" death was cruel.

Like leaving a dog in a car on a hot day with the windows rolled up.

http://www.tedstrong.com/laika-trsd.shtml

At least nobody I know has a bat as a pet.
 
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MaxQ

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Liaka the first "space dog's" death was cruel.

Like leaving a dog in a car on a hot day with the windows rolled up.

http://www.tedstrong.com/laika-trsd.shtml

At least nobody I know has a bat as a pet.
<It had been planned that Laika would be euthanized with a poisoned serving of food after 10 days. For many years, the Soviet Union gave conflicting statements that she had either died from oxygen starvation when the batteries failed, or that she had been euthanized. There were many rumours circulated about the exact manner of her passing. In 1999, several Russian sources said that she died after four days when the cabin overheated. In October 2002, it was revealed by Dr. Dimitri Malashenkov, one of the scientists behind the Sputnik 2 mission, that Laika had died between five and seven hours after launch, from overheating and stress. Sputnik 2 was finally destroyed during reentry on April 14, 1958 after 2,570 orbits.>

The "idiots"...as if poisoning a dog in space was a better solution to their recovery problem.
 
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georgegassaway

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ok...so when it blew off....did it impact the orbiter?
No. It was on the opposite side of the ET away from the orbiter, and near the bottom of the ET. It if would have hit anything, maybe one of the SRB aft skirts, which could take the hit of something like a bat.

- George Gassaway
 

GlennW

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One other interesting little tidbit on this batty story. Koichi Wakata who is on this mission also had a bat on the shuttle ET on his previous flight, although in that case the bat flew off right before liftoff.

A related story (in that it involves a bat)-

One night last year I was awakened in the middle of the night and I thought I caught sight of something flying around the room like an insect or something. Upon my eyes adjusting, I realize we have a BAT doing laps around our bedroom! I wake up the wife and say "Honey there's a bat flying around our bedroom!" She jumps out of the bed, runs out into the hall and closes the door with me still in the room with our friend. Well, long story short we were able to get someone out from animal control to corral this crazy critter. The mystery was how he got in being that all windows and doors were closed tight. I figured out that he got in through the attic and then into our bedroom through my wife's closet which has a hatch leading to the attic. Good times!

Glenn
 

tazzdevl1

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We actually have a few "bat houses" on our property. They make great skeeter control agents. I like to call their little houses belfrys. :D Get it? Bats in the belfry.

Cliff

One other interesting little tidbit on this batty story. Koichi Wakata who is on this mission also had a bat on the shuttle ET on his previous flight, although in that case the bat flew off right before liftoff.

A related story (in that it involves a bat)-

One night last year I was awakened in the middle of the night and I thought I caught sight of something flying around the room like an insect or something. Upon my eyes adjusting, I realize we have a BAT doing laps around our bedroom! I wake up the wife and say "Honey there's a bat flying around our bedroom!" She jumps out of the bed, runs out into the hall and closes the door with me still in the room with our friend. Well, long story short we were able to get someone out from animal control to corral this crazy critter. The mystery was how he got in being that all windows and doors were closed tight. I figured out that he got in through the attic and then into our bedroom through my wife's closet which has a hatch leading to the attic. Good times!

Glenn
 

mjennings

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The below are floating around the e-mail loops

Although we remained hopeful he would wake up and fly away, the bat eventually became IPR 119V-0080 after the ICE team finished their walkdown. He did change the direction he was pointing from time to time throughout countdown but ultimately never flew away. IR imagery shows he was alive and not frozen like many would think. The surface of the ET foam is actually generally between 60-80 degrees F on a day like yesterday. SE&I performed a debris analysis on him and ultimately a LCC waiver to ICE-01 was written to accept the stowaway. Lift off imagery analysis confirmed that he held on until at least the vehicle cleared to tower before we lost sight of him.

And thus is the legend of the STS-119 Bat-ronaut….

STS-119  Bat Liftoff.jpg


STS-119 Bat 2.jpg


STS-119 Bat IR.jpg
 

RocketT.Coyote

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Had a few little brown bats in the basement. Having first flown into the chimney and later--by luck--coming up out of the heater exhaust pipe. When CTiimm was over to replace my water heater, he found many of their skeletal remains in the vent pipe. Also encountered one while fishing on my B-day a few years ago. He showwed his teeth when I waded over to the small tree he roosted on.

I had heard the bat on the orbiter was a fruit bat btw.
 

abw

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Cliff, we also have a bat house in a corner of our yard. We put it up last spring, but so far no bats have moved in. We know that there are lots in the area because during the summer you can see tons of them flying around at sundown. How long did it take for them to move into yours?

MaxQ, i'd have to agree with you on that one... If wonder what PETA did when they found out about that one.
 

georgegassaway

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I wrote:
At KSC, workers were looking for the remains of the bat near the launch site, but have not found anything so far.
Now THAT is a colossal waste of tax-payer money.
OK, so I worded it poorly, and boy do you guys have a hair-trigger threshold for what kind of things constitute "colossal wastes of tax-payer money".

After every shuttle launch, workers go out to the pad area to look for how much damage there is to the pad. It is a question of how much pad damage has to be fixed each time, never zero damage.

So, in addition to those post-launch pad damage inspection duties, this time they are also looking for any signs of the bat. In no way did I get the impression that special "Bat search groups" were being sent out for extra pay, or overtime pay. Just "one of those things" to be added this time to the list of things that the pad workers do after a launch anyway.

I can only image how irate you would be if you heard that they pretty much have to replace the Safety Railings on the MLP after every launch, they get so messed up by the SRB&#8217;s. So I won&#8217;t tell you... :)

- George Gassaway
 
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DAllen

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I can only image how irate you would be if you heard that they pretty much have to replace the Safety Railings on the MLP after every launch, they get so messed up by the SRB’s. So I won’t tell you... :)
I get a little touchy because that's MY money and I am laid off. A little tax relief would be nice for once.

-Dave
 

mjennings

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not to derail things but if I have my figures right for every $10 the Fed gets NASA get's about $0.06. But I agree it should still be spent responsibly. Sorry for the lay-off I know many people who have one coming down the pipe line.

did some quick fact checking http://www.thespacereview.com/article/898/1

George is right about the post launch pad walk down, and it takes about 30 days to get a pad back up to launchable condition. Providing no excessive damage like there was a few flights ago.
 

Terry_TBR

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I had never thought about the shock waves, but I suppose that would certainly have a large impact on wildlife in the area.
Just before I went off to USMC boot camp in 1997 my father-in-law was an officer with the Air Force Space Command out of Patrick / KSC and got my wife and I passes to sit in the area with the big-wig VIP's. Right after the SRB's kicked in the glass surface of the lagoon was broken by at least a hundred alligators slapping their tails. We were all told that the vibrations agitate the gators and they all come to the surface and slap their tails around.

The image below is one that I took of this launch. I couldn't see the bat from where I was at. :p Any one familiar with Melbourne, Florida... that is the Pineda Causeway. We were right off US1 a few miles from my house... The rest of the photos I took of the launch are on my photography blog here: http://www.tkrphoto.com/2009/03/sts-119-discovery-shuttle-launch/

EDIT: The image below was from my really old Canon Digital Rebel. I opened the shutter for 3 minutes to get the track. The orbiter can be seen below and to the right of where the exhaust trail ends. You cannot see the SRB's in this one.

 

rocketguy101

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NICE! Your shots on your site are really cool too! Thanks for sharing.
 

Terry_TBR

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NICE! Your shots on your site are really cool too! Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the comment! I will share more as events happen. My little brother works at NASA with the LSP group so I get word of most launches. They do not announce when any of the military payloads go up until the last minute. I've been bugging him lately to get me on station for a few of the launches... especially the shuttle launches since there aren't many left!

I am waiting for the next Delta Heavy to go up. Those are a sight to see!! Of course the Delta II that launched the Kepler was really cool too. It was a clear night and from my drive way we watched every booster shed off.
 

abw

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Just before I went off to USMC boot camp in 1997 my father-in-law was an officer with the Air Force Space Command out of Patrick / KSC and got my wife and I passes to sit in the area with the big-wig VIP's. Right after the SRB's kicked in the glass surface of the lagoon was broken by at least a hundred alligators slapping their tails. We were all told that the vibrations agitate the gators and they all come to the surface and slap their tails around.

The image below is one that I took of this launch. I couldn't see the bat from where I was at. :p Any one familiar with Melbourne, Florida... that is the Pineda Causeway. We were right off US1 a few miles from my house... The rest of the photos I took of the launch are on my photography blog here: http://www.tkrphoto.com/2009/03/sts-119-discovery-shuttle-launch/

EDIT: The image below was from my really old Canon Digital Rebel. I opened the shutter for 3 minutes to get the track. The orbiter can be seen below and to the right of where the exhaust trail ends. You cannot see the SRB's in this one.

Very nice picture! You're lucky to have an "in" with the NASA launches...
 

mjennings

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Terry, beautiful shot! Whole thing is framed very nicely. I'm not far up US 1 from you. Have you ever been out to an SRA launch? Next one is April 18th, PM me if you want info.
 

Terry_TBR

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Terry, beautiful shot! Whole thing is framed very nicely. I'm not far up US 1 from you. Have you ever been out to an SRA launch? Next one is April 18th, PM me if you want info.
I've been to a few in the distant past and was just at the one this last weekend. I flew my first HPR build there for a level 1 certification. I spent about 2 hours looking for it (went east of the power lines!) but finally found it just after everyone else left! :D
 

mjennings

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cool glad you found it I missed last weekend do to work. Great place for flying, sometimes not a great place for recovery. At least you avoided the canal.
 
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