New this month Plot hole: The shuttle achieves its accidental orbit, and in need of oxygen they decide to go into a higher orbit to rendezvous with the space station and borrow some tanks stored there. If the shuttle is as ill-prepared for flight as the ground controllers keep saying it is (as it lacks backup oxygen and a communications system), it is highly unlikely the shuttle would have enough fuel to pull off the maneuver to enter a higher orbit (especially given how much fuel was burned off during the test before the accidental launch was triggered). Typically shuttles were launched during specific time frames (launch windows) to enable them to achieve the necessary orbit for their mission directly from launch (such as going to the International Space Station). One of the reasons a damaged Columbia, for example, couldn't unload its astronauts at the ISS was that, aside from not having a docking module, is that it was in a different orbital plane and didn't have the fuel to speed up to the ISS's orbit (which, it is said, would have been roughly equivalent to the fuel needed for takeoff). And even if the orbiter did have enough fuel to pull off the orbit adjustment, it just raises the question of why NASA felt the need to mount the shuttle on two fully operational SRBs and give it all that extra fuel when all they wanted to do was test the orbiter engine (for which empty mockup SRBs would have sufficed if the test really needed to be done on the pad). What is the point of fully mounting a shuttle if it's not for a mission to the point where you don't bother to install life-support or communications?