Monday, 16 May 2011

Real-Time Space Shuttle in Google Earth

Google Earth space shuttle short ascent preview A 3D model of the space shuttle ascends in Google Earth.

› Preview it in Google Earth
You can now track the space shuttle during launch and landing in Google Earth using real-time data from Mission Control.

You will need Google Earth to use this file. Don’t have Google Earth? Download it here.

After you have installed Google Earth, download the live groundtrack file here.

You will be prompted to save/open the file. Select the "Open" option, and the file will automatically open in Google Earth, if you have it installed.

Using live shuttle data, a 3D model of NASA’s space shuttle is plotted in Google Earth to show its current position and trajectory.

Google Earth displays the world in 3D with satellite imagery, and you can also visualize geospatial data. The space shuttle trajectory - the path that the vehicle flies - is shown as a yellow line. It represents the path that the shuttle has flown so far. Mission events are shown as colored dots on the yellow line when and where they occurred. Examples of mission events include:
  • Solid Rocket Booster Separation
  • Main Engine Cut-Off (MECO)
  • External Tank Separation
  • Speed milestones
  • Altitude milestones
  • Landing events
There are two viewing options: Auto-Follow (default) and Manual Control.

Auto-Follow will automatically move with the space shuttle as it launches/lands. During the dynamic launch and entry phases of flight, normally the view is set to a Chase View or Low View. This is the default option. This is recommended for passively monitoring the launch/landing ("set it and forget it") or if you are not familiar with navigating in Google Earth.

Manual Control lets the user control the view within Google Earth. It will not automatically follow the Space Shuttle. This enables users that are already comfortable with Google Earth's navigation controls to pan and zoom to whatever view they desire.

If you click on the colored dots along the trajectory, a balloon will open to display information about the shuttle's flight at that point in the trajectory.

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