1:144 Space Shuttle Vertical Stabilizer, Late, with SILTS Pod
After the Challenger accident, NASA conducted a thorough review of the Space Shuttle design looking for ways to improve safety. Out of the accident investigation, the addition of a drag chute was recommended to improve landing safety. In an emergency, the drag chute provides a backup to the wheel brakes to slow the orbiter and prevent a runway overrun. Under normal conditions, it reduces use of wheel brakes and the necessary landing distance.
By the mid-1990’s, all orbiters were modified to include a drag chute contained in a housing at the base of the vertical stabilizer. In operation during landing, the drag chute is deployed just before the nose gear touches down. The first flight of the new drag chute occurred on the following missions for each orbiter:
- Columbia (OV-102) STS-50, June 1992
- Discovery (OV-103) STS-53, December 1992
- Atlantis (OV-104) STS-66, November 1994
- Endeavour (OV-105) STS-49, May 1992
This kit includes a single resin casting representing the late version of the vertical stabilizer with the installed drag chute housing for Columbia and includes the "Shuttle Infrared Leeside Temperature Sensor" (SILTS) pod at the top of the tail. The SILTS installation was unique to Columbia. The part is sized from NASA drawings and has been checked against the Revell kit, but should fit any 1:144 scale kit.
For Discovery, Atlantis, Endeavour version, see Kit #1502.