787: Orbiter

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Orbiter
Normally, the Shuttle can't quite safely reach the orbital inclination required to pass over both those points from a Canaveral launch, but this is an alternate history in which either it launches from Vandenburg or everyone hates the Outer Banks.
Title text: Normally, the Shuttle can't quite safely reach the orbital inclination required to pass over both those points from a Canaveral launch, but this is an alternate history in which either it launches from Vandenburg or everyone hates the Outer Banks.

[edit] Explanation

This comic is about disputed territories and polar orbits.

The two disputes referred to here are the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the Texas-Oklahoma dispute. The satellite would probably require a polar orbit to reach both Palestine and Oklahoma, which cannot be achieved from a launch at Cape Caneveral, as the launch trajectories would cause debris and spent fuel tanks from the Shuttle during its ascent to fall in heavily populated areas.

The reason the Vandenburg option is an alternate history is because there actually were plans to launch shuttles from there before the Challenger accident occurred. After Challenger was lost the polar orbiting missions were scrapped and Cape Canaveral became the sole launch site for the Space Shuttle.

In the alternate history, mentioned in the title text, the rules forbidding orbital launches from Caneveral to that polar inclination don't exist, either because nobody cares what happens to the Outer Banks (which would be in the flight path) or nobody likes them and they're deserted. The entire reason for this even being pointed out is just Randall's being obsessive-compulsive.

[edit] Transcript

Cueball: Okay, people. The orbiter is passing south of Iceland. The next scheduled check-in will be at 32.0N 35.5E, over the Palestinian territories.
Off-screen character: You mean over Palestine?
Frank (off-screen): You mean over Israel?
[Beat panel.]
Cueball: I've rescheduled the check-in for 35.2N 96.6W, over Oklahoma.
Frank (off-screen): You mean occupied North Texas?
Cueball: Dammit, Frank.
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Discussion

So, I suppose a flight to the Diaoyu islands is out of the question then. Davidy²²[talk] 02:25, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

did you mean: Senkaku Islands? --Quicksilver (talk) 01:11, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I feel like this explanation page is completely neglecting to explain the joke, which is situational humor in which Cueball, to avoid a workplace conflict between two people who feel strongly about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, eliminates the discussion before it happens by rescheduling the check-in to what he thinks is a place which has no territorial disputes. Frank then decides to be a butt and bring up the old Texas dispute. 108.162.238.203 16:56, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

May be a deeper joke here. When the space shuttle Columbia crashed, it was over Palestine, Texas.

108.162.246.207 02:37, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
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