Shuttle With Stacks Orbiter question/inquiry

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Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2003
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I was cleaning/sanding the Orbiter parts tonight, when I noted something peculiar:

Lay the bottom of the Orbiter body on a flat surface, with the bottom - the side with the slots for the launch lugs facing up.

The Orbiter doesn't sit flat, instead its front end is flexed upwards off the table by 2 MM, and extends back equally along the body 48 MM till the orbiter touches back on the table

The same applies to the left and right wings - each is 2 mm off the table and extends inward (towards the center of the orbiter)30 mm.

See crude drawing attached for clarity

Now I'm not sure if this is supposed to be like this, as I don't remember seeing this on the previous model. BUT if its the case, I'm betting that some of these kits either have more warping in them or less, and this results in the differences in how the orbiter falls/glides etc.

Not to say it'll glide home gracefully..but I'm concerned whether it should be flat - although I'm thinking that this angle is part of the " lifting body principal " and needs to be in the shuttle to help it fly a bit better.

If noone knows, I can contact Estes and ask them what the skinny is.

So, I'd like to ask anyone whom has a Shuttle With Stacks Kit # 1284 unbuilt to please check their orbiter as I have and let me know what you've found.

Many thanks in advance,
I had the same issue with my Shuttle and it's coming up in the one I'm converting to Buran. When assembled, there is a noticable anhedral (I think that's the word - the wings bend down). When assembling, I was more concerned with getting the front edges of the wings to line up, so I didn't realize what was happening until it was glued. For a while, the dowel holding the elevons kept the wings straight, but as I look at it now, the elevon hinges have peeled away from the wing so the dowel is straight, but the wings bend down.
No doubt this does not help the glide! Actually, on mine one wing bends down more than the other. To correct it, I am thinking of gluing a dowel inside the wing, or a styrene rod or something. I would like to give it some dihedral, as on the real orbiter. You can see in drawings of Buran that the bottoms of the wings clearly angle up to the tips.
It's probably due to the warping of the plastic, and you might be able to straighten it out by careful gluing of the wings. Another thought is to put in some kind of a spacer to force the bottom farther away from the top; in other words, lower the middle of the bottom wing while the tips remain in the same position. You'd have some filling to do in the rear then.

Many thanks for the reply. I was up late last night researching the angle, and so far I've not found anything "official" that I can use as a basis to nail the proper angles.

The only thing I could reference would be the Estes Flying Orbiter or the huge Monagram 1/72 scale shuttle which I built some 10 years ago.

I'm was thinking of an inner stabilizer core as well, but didn't have any thoughts about how to do it - being 4 am and all. lol

I'll see what I can come up with.

Thanks bro, I appreciate your help greatly. 8)
You could try looking for head on images or drawings. I suspect the Shuttle's wings angle up a bit. The plastic models are also probably accurate there.
One thing is clearly inaccurate on the Estes kit (well, there are several!); there is no separate fuselage outline on the bottom of the wings. It should be a smooth line from wing tip to wing tip.
All the ways I've thought of to give the wing dihedral would add weight to the rear, which is a concern. I'm leaning toward pushing the bottom down with small pieces of strip styrene added to the upper piece sides. I'll let you know how it goes.
Image added to website showing end view of orbiter after top and bottom taped together.
R. S.,
Looks good. I was thinking of something like that! You are going to have to modify the elevon dowel, however; perhaps a break in the middle and some kind of flexible joint?