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
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.
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
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.
//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!//
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 - missaerospace.com
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.
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
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.
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 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.