rocket physics

Tsiolkovsky’s Space Conquest Diagram.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was a Russian rocket pioneer. Although he never built a rocket, Tsiolkovsky’s work was highly influential in the development of Soviet rocket and space technology. He became deaf after contracting scarlet fever at around the age of 10 and from then on he schooled himself, mainly from books in his father’s library. He determined that the Earth’s escape velocity was 8 kilometres per second and showed that this could be achieved using liquid-fuel rockets. He predicted many aspects of space travel, including double-walled hulls for meteor protection and the problems of weightlessness.

The intricacies involved in launching a shuttle off the ground and successfully completing its mission is no doubt a meticulous task. Every move made during a launch is calculated and deliberate, nothing is left for chance.

On that note, having watched a couple of historic shuttle launches, this peculiar behavior caught my eye: the orbiter always faced the earth! ( The orbiter is the plane part of the shuttle)

Why do shuttles orient belly up ?

Protection against space debris

Upon entering the atmosphere, most space debris burn up. But out in space, without the protective blanket of our atmosphere, the space shuttle is exposed to all sizes and shapes of space debris ( also man-made ).

The space shuttle’s belly is designed to take up intense heat and pressure so that the shuttle doesn’t fall apart when it re-enters the atmosphere, and therefore best suited for taking hits from flying space junk

The Sun

Do you remember the heat-resistant space shuttle tiles that I posted about a couple of weeks back?

Putting the spacecraft with it’s bottom to the Sun it is these heat-resistant tiles on the bottom that are most exposed to the full power of the Sun.

This keeps the astronauts safer and cooler than they would be otherwise.

To maneuver

Wait, space shuttles maneuver in flight ? Yup ! For each mission the shuttle must be launched at a certain angle in order to accomplish the prescribed task.

Since the launch pad is fixed i.e you cannot change its angular orientation, the shuttle must perform the maneuver during the ascent in order to orient itself with the trajectory.

This maneuver is known as the Roll maneuver and is performed at a point about one minute or so after the launch.

The Atlantis performing a roll maneuver


Well, I think this thought might have already crossed your mind.

The belly down position assists in communication with the ground and allows instruments within the cargo bay to be pointed back towards Earth, which is required for many of the experiments carried within the bay.

Home, Sweet Home !

The reason why the shuttle’s cargo bay faces towards the earth has some psychological benefit as well.

The crew of the crew are given the spectacular views of our home planet glorifying the magnificence of its existence, rather than staring at the cold, dark void of space that lies afar.


One of my close friend’s first mission is launching today! He has been working on it for the past two years so it is super exciting to watch it go!

The launch is scheduled for today (1/19) 7:46 pm EDT (23:46 GMT).
BROADCAST BEGINS at 7:26 pm EDT (23:26) here. Be on the lookout for my friend Tyler; he will be interviewed before launch. :D


21:22. 21.04.15

//With exams fast approaching I decided to go over the electricity module (plus some people have requested an electricity mind map). Plus, that is my new cactus. He’s called positron, the positive study mascot. Anyways, have a nice day guys! Happy studying!//


Hard Landing for SpaceX Rocket Despite Successful Liftoff.


Hangout session with a Rocket Scientist!

We put forth all your questions that you had asked to Marielle during yesterday’s hangout session. It was truly a transcending experience, we hope you enjoyed it as well.

There were a couple of questions that went unanswered due to time constraints. They will be answered by Marielle on her tumblr - missaerospace.

Thank you so much, Marielle for taking the time to answer all the questions and sharing other valuable information and experiences that would aid rocket science aspirants. :D

EDIT : Marielle has cordially answered all the other questions asked during the hangout session. you can check them out here

We are hanging out with an actual rocket scientist this weekend. Her name is Marielle, she is a PhD student/Smead Fellow at The University of Colorado Boulder. Her doctorate is in Astrodynamics and also runs her own website -

It will be a live session so you can tune in as well,( will post the link to it an hour in advance of the event ) and later available on-line.

Time : 13:30 GMT , Saturday

Got a burning question that you always wanted to ask a rocket scientist ?

Here is your golden opportunity. Send us in your questions and we will put them forth during the Hangout session.

Vega rocket lifted off carrying spacecraft to test gravitational waves

On 3rd December, Vega rocket lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport, French Guiana carrying LISA (after Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) Pathfinder. It will test key technologies for space-based observation of gravitational waves. These ripples in the fabric of spacetime which propagate as waves, are predicted by Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity but have not yet been directly detected.

To demonstrate the fundamental approach that could be used by future missions to observe these elusive cosmic fluctuations, LISA Pathfinder will realise the best free-fall ever achieved in space. It will do so by reducing all the non-gravitational forces acting on two cubes and monitoring their motion and attitude to unprecedented accuracy.

Copyright: European Space Agency–Stephane Corvaja, 2015

the signs as mistakes i’ve made throughout my high school career

aries: laughing at someone who i thought was choking on their gum but was actually having a seizure

taurus: leaving the gas valve on in chemistry class during a test so everyone had to evacuate

gemini: parking in the wrong parking spot the first day of school and starting a chain reaction, receiving numerous death threats for it

cancer: shooting the rocket in physics at the wrong angle and watching it travel over the horizon into the neighboring building

leo: going backstage in the middle of a performance and tripping on the power chord that connected all the mics to the speakers

virgo: asking my physics teacher why his eyebrows were missing

libra: getting drunk at homecoming and laying in a bed with people i barely knew, telling them that the moon landing was just a conspiracy

scorpio: accidentally connecting my supernatural instagram with my facebook freshman year and sending a notification to everyone that i had joined instagram as ‘supernaturalwhore’

sagittarius: going to school after 32 hours of not sleeping and writing the name of the person next to me on the top of my paper and turning it in

capricorn: dropping my friend’s dog who we were using for a theatre performance off the stage and into the audience

aquarius: getting so nervous around the person i liked sophomore year that when they asked me what day it was i said ‘twensday’ then stepped in a puddle of mud and slipped

pisces: after the teacher said ‘make sure you only print one copy’ accidentally printing 1000 and breaking the printer

Inside a rocket’s belly

Here’s an unusual view of a spacecraft – looking from below, directly into the thruster nozzles. This is a test version of the European Space Agency’s service module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will send astronauts further into space than ever before.

The European Service Module provides electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen, and thermal control as well as propelling the spacecraft.

The large cone is the spacecraft’s main engine. The surrounding red cones are auxiliary thrusters. The engines will provide almost 30 kN of thrust, enough to manoeuvre in space. More thrusters are carried on the module’s sides.

This structural test model is used for testing purposes before installing the real thing. It is as close to the flight version as possible while keeping costs and development time manageable.

The model was installed under a test version of the Crew Module Adapter, and sits on the Spacecraft Adapter that will attach Orion to its launch vehicle. This is the first time the European hardware has been physically connected to NASA’s elements.

Copyright ESA/NASA


Space-X’s dramatic second barge landing attempt.

Seen here from two different perspectives, it’s agonisingly apparent how close the reusable Falcon 9 Rocket came to actually landing. Landing in quite a stable manner the rocket slowly teeters on the edge before sadly toppling over. 

Afterwards Gwynne Shotwell, Space-X’s president, mentioned the next landing attempt will probably be attempted on land to give the rocket more stability. 



Rocket Candy: Sugar and KNO3 Rocket Fuel

Rocket Candy is a type of rocket propellant for model rockets made with sugar as a fuel, and containing an oxidizer. The propellant can be divided into three groups of components: the fuel, the oxidizer, and the additive(s). The fuel is a sugar; sucrose is the most commonly used. The most common oxidizer is potassium nitrate (KNO3). A traditional sugar propellant formulation is typically prepared in a 13:7 oxidizer to fuel ratio.

There are many different methods for preparation of a sugar-based rocket propellant. Dry compression does not require heating, only the grinding of the components and then packing into the motor. However, this method is not recommended for serious experimenting. Dry heating does not actually melt the KNO3, but it melts the sugar and then the KNO3 grains become suspended in the sugar. Dissolving and heating the propellant actually melts both of the components and combines them.

Open flame should never be used to melt the propellant, and the mix should always be heated in an oil bath, never over direct heat. Because rocket candy is extremely flammable, it should be prepared in small batches, out of doors or in an outbuilding, and using adequate personal protective equipment (eye protection at the very least). But Do Not Attempt This At Home.

Giffed by: rudescience  From: this video