NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Space Shuttle Columbia landing at the end of the STS-28 mission of 8-13 August 1989. STS-28 was a classified Department of Defense flight. It is believed that the crew deployed an upgraded KH-11 imaging reconnaissance satellite during the mission. On top of the tail fin is the pod of the Shuttle Infrared Leeside Temperature Sensing (SILTS) system. This was used to monitor temperature patterns over the Shuttle's wings and fuselage during deceleration after re-entry. Data from this and later uses of SILTS may help in the design of future re-useable launcher systems. Note also the discolouration of some thermal tiles around the nose, 100 of which had to be replaced.
Model release not required. Property release not required.