When NASA launches a space shuttle, one of the things that the organization has to do that doesn’t get a lot of attention is retrieval. After all, those booster engines that help propel Endeavour or Atlantis into orbit don’t magically disappear. The come crashing back to Earth, where they land in the ocean. From there, it’s up to a team of experts to track, locate, secure and recover the gargantuan booster.
With NASA soon to be mothballing the Space Shuttle fleet entirely, it seemed that now would be a good time for them to show the world how they go about recovering these rather large booster rockets. For those of you curious, they posted the video to YouTube:
For those of you wondering about what happens to these rocket boosters once they’re recovered, NASA says that they suffer a fate worse than death: they get shipped to Utah. Once in Utah, they’re stored and refurbished as needed for future launches. Of course, with the shuttle program soon to be a memory, odds are these boosters have seen their last flight.
Unless NASA only uses four booster engines… which should frighten everybody…