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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Check this:

All. Systems. Go.

dude on reddit said:
Interesting tidbit: If you watch closely, you'll see a blue zigzag line encircling the nozzle opening during startup. That's a transient shockwave that forms as the nozzle exit velocity ramps up from subsonic to supersonic. This video shows the shockwave in slow motion detail:

same dude said:
Notice how the nozzles oscillate sharply as the shock forms and exits the nozzle. The violent impulsive force imparted on the nozzle was among the highest loads that the Space Shuttle ever experience during the whole course of the mission, and they were caused by complex aerodynamic affects during engine start before even getting off the ground. NASA worked on the problem but ultimately decided they couldn't eliminate the shockwave, so they choose to add those trademark hoop stiffeners around the nozzle exterior - adding mass. Years later, they commissioned my aerodynamics professor to perform an advanced fluid mechanics study to see if an aerodynamic solution could be found to eliminate the shocks entirely. I never learned if he was successful before I graduated, but I'll always remember what an interesting problem it was.
From here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/4mw8dw/startup_of_the_space_shuttles_main_engines/
 

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\m/ \m/
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Looks like a giant cutting torch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

This video from the Glenn Research Center highlights in stunning, behind-the-scenes imagery the launches of three space shuttle missions: STS-114, STS-117, and STS-124. NASA engineers provide commentary as footage from the ground and from the orbiters themselves document in detail the first phase of a mission.
 

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Mod Britannia
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The amount of flex in those nozzles is quite astounding. Makes you realise how crazy the forces are.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Yeah, the nozzles deforming is just nuts. I've stood under one of these engines at Cape Canaveral (they have one mounted on an observation gantry, and you can walk all around it and underneath) and two things amaze me: First, how compact the "guts" of the engine are. It's a tight knot of piping… it's just hard to imagine the force being created. And second, how tiny the actual opening is at the top of the nozzle. Like the size of your fist. Absolutely mind-boggling. Same with the Saturn V engines you can stand underneath.
 

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Yeah, the nozzles deforming is just nuts. I've stood under one of these engines at Cape Canaveral (they have one mounted on an observation gantry, and you can walk all around it and underneath) and two things amaze me: First, how compact the "guts" of the engine are. It's a tight knot of piping… it's just hard to imagine the force being created. And second, how tiny the actual opening is at the top of the nozzle. Like the size of your fist. Absolutely mind-boggling. Same with the Saturn V engines you can stand underneath.
You know, by contrast, I went to see a Cosmonaut exhibition earlier this year at the Science Museum (it was fucking excellent), and the rickety-ness and improv'd nature of some of the stuff that was used in the early years of space exploration. Jesus, did those guys have big cojones.
 

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Mr. Negative Pants, ,
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Indeed. Those guys were literally "floating in a tin can" after being launched into the void on top of a giant firecracker.
 
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