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At the end of the episode "Serpent's Lair", SG-1 and Bratak win the day against Apophis' planned attack on Earth, but find themselves essentially stranded in orbit aboard crippled death gliders. The US space shuttle Endeavour appears, then we cut to the happy ending scene in the Gate Room.

How was Endeavour actually able to help them? There's no way to exit the gliders without being exposed to space and no means of docking, nor do they have space suits with them.

Are we to assume the still-occupied gliders were simply placed into the cargo bay and then rode down that way?

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There doesn't seem to be a good reason why that wouldn't be the case. Both ships were relatively low on power but the key concern seems to be that they're going to burn up in the atmosphere rather than there being any shortage of air.

Since we know that gliders can fold their wings and since there's enough space in the shuttle for both gliders, it seems sensible that they were put into the (unpressurised) cargo hold and then landed as normal.

CARTER: Same here, sir. But I don't think we bought ourselves much time. Our glider's had it.

TEAL'C: I concur.

CARTER: We got cooked pretty bad in the explosion.

O'NEILL: Captain?

CARTER: We're low on power and in a fairly low orbit, so I don't imagine it will be too much longer before we burn up in Earth's atmosphere.


According to the MGM-Licensed "Stargate SG-1 Goauld Death Glider Collector Scale Replica", the Death-Glider's dimensions are 45.9ft x 27.99ft x 14ft. With the wings fully folded and stowed, the dimensions would shrink to 15ft x 27.99ft x 14ft. That being the case, there would be sufficient space in the Shuttle's cargo hold to store both gliders (stacked sideways) with a few feet left over.

Death Glider replica

ship schematics

  • Assuming they could be secured properly... sideways would be an uncomfortable and perhaps hazardous way to ride the re-entry G-forces, and "in the dark" would be kinda scary I should think, but better than the alternative, I suppose. – Anthony X Jul 16 '17 at 19:36
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    @AnthonyX - The glider has artificial gravity, Being sideways makes no difference, nor do the g-forces and the craft has its own internal lighting. – Valorum Jul 16 '17 at 19:45
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    @AnthonyX - They clearly have an audio hookup though. Plus they're already in low orbit which means that they'd be on the ground in less than two hours; livescience.com/33402-how-land-space-shuttle-atlantis.html – Valorum Jul 16 '17 at 19:48
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    Except for getting unloaded, and clearing customs and immigration! Anyway maybe that's why the gliders were built to that dimension, or the Shuttle. Standard space-going containers. – Harper Jul 16 '17 at 22:08
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    @Luaan The space shuttle's cargo bay isn't pressurized.The doors are not air tight and the bay actually has open vents so that atmosphere remains equalized with the exterior since it's not strong enough to maintain pressure. They pretty much had to stay in the gliders the whole way down. – Kevin Fee Jul 17 '17 at 22:27

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