Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Endeavour’s sonic booms help end crime spree, 06.07.11

A trademark of the space shuttle landing—a double sonic boom—turned out to benefit the residents of Florida last week. It helped end a string of car burglaries.
Last Wednesday morning at 2:31 am, Amanda Kay Way in Kissimmee, Florida, was awoken by the sonic boom produced by the double sonic boom made by the space shuttle re-entering earth’s atmosphere at a velocity higher than the speed of sound. Wide awake, she looked out her window and saw two young men rummaging around inside her car. After police responded to her call, the two men were apprehended and provided information that actually ties them to a string of recent burglaries over the past few weeks. Now that is a triumphant arrival and a good end to a mission!
Xenon lights help lead space shuttle Endeavour home to NASA
Space shuttle Endeavour coming in for a landing. Image credit: NASA.
Sonic booms are created by air pressure and shockwaves as the space shuttle (or any fast jet plane, for that matter) as it accelerates to speeds faster than the speed of sound. Every space shuttle creates a double sonic boom as it comes screeching back to earth, both less than a second apart and created by the shuttle’s nose and tail.
Space shuttle Endeavour returned after its final 16-day mission to the ISS. After a month of decommissioning work, the space shuttle (and all the other shuttles), will go to various large museums around the nation. Only one shuttle launch—Atlantis—remains for the U.S. space program this summer, and will close out the program until further notice.
Credit: NASA.

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