rocket science

Yes, sure its fun to see a lady spin around like that, but I had one of my friends ask me - “Where do you even use this mate?”

Here’s one application that I know very well off.


Spin Stabilization

If you have ever seen a rocket launch, you might know that sometimes the rockets are given a spin while launching. This is known as spin stabilization.

Basically, the rotational inertia of the rotating body will stabilize the rocket against any disturbances and help maintain its intended heading.

The same principle is used in rifling of firearms as well. **


YoYo DeSpin

Okay, now there is the question how to “De-spin” the rocket:

Well, you do what the lady does: stretch out your arms and you will slow down !

The rocket has weights connected to a cable that stretch out and almost immediately the rocket slows down. This maneuver is known as the YoYo DeSpin. ( Damn good name ! )

All thanks to the conservation of angular momentum !

Have a good one !


* Another method to stabilization : 3-axis stabilization

** Bullets spin stabilization - post

** Source rocket launch video

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Every Photo From NASA’s Apollo Missions Are Now on Flickr

The Project Apollo Archive uploaded more than 14,000 high-resolution images the astronauts took during NASA’s Apollo Missions of the 1960s and 70s. The collection includes every never-seen-before photo shot with the Hasselblad cameras on the lunar surface, from Earth and lunar orbit, as well as during the journey between the two. All the photos are unprocessed versions of the original scans.
Image courtesy: NASA/JSC

Annie Easley helped make modern spaceflight possible

“Few people are brilliant enough to be a computer programmer or a mathematician. Even fewer can add "rocket scientist for NASA” to their resume. Annie Easley, however, was all three. During her 34-year career, she worked not only on technologies that led to hybrid vehicles, but also on software that enabled great strides in spaceflight and exploration. And if that wasn’t notable enough, Easley also did all of this as one of the first few African-Americans in her field.“

When people have their biases and prejudices, yes, I am aware. My head is not in the sand. But my thing is, if I can’t work with you, I will work around you. I was not about to be [so] discouraged that I’d walk away. That may be a solution for some people, but it’s not mine.
— 

Annie J. Easley

Annie J. Easley (April 23, 1933 – June 25, 2011) was an African-American computer scientist, mathematician, and rocket scientist.

She worked for the Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center) of NASA and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).

She was a leading member of the team which developed software for the Centaur rocket stage and one of the first African-Americans to work as a computer scientist at NASA.

Cover of Science and Engineering Newsletter featuring Easley at the Lewis Research Center. Image source: NASA
 

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Vostok 1 (Russian: Восто́к, East or Orient 1) was the first spaceflight of the Vostok programme and the first manned spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA space capsule was launched on April 12, 1961 from Baikonur Cosmodrome with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, making him the first human to cross into outer space.

available at my Etsy shop.

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Lunar Orbit Rendezvous

Lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) is a key concept for landing humans on the Moon and returning them to Earth and was first utilized for the Project Apollo missions in the 1960s and 1970s. In a LOR mission, a main spacecraft (such as the Apollo CSM) and a smaller lunar lander (such as the Apollo LM) travel together into lunar orbit. The lunar lander then independently descends to the surface of the Moon, while the main spacecraft remains in lunar orbit. After completion of the mission there, the lander returns to lunar orbit to rendezvous and re-dock with the main spacecraft, then is discarded after transfer of crew and payload. Only the main spacecraft returns to Earth.

LOR is first known to have been proposed in 1916 by Ukrainian rocket theoretician Yuri Kondratyuk, as the most economical way of landing humans on the Moon. When NASA began actual work in 1961 on President John F. Kennedy’s goal to achieve the first such landing by the end of the 1960s, LOR was proposed by Tom Dolan and championed by John C. Houbolt, but considered controversial, impractical, and possibly dangerous, because space rendezvous had never been done. However, Houbolt’s persistence paid off, convincing NASA’s management, and Administrator James E. Webb publicly announced in July 1962 that Apollo would utilize this method. Even then, Kennedy’s Science Advisor Jerome Wiesner remained opposed to the method, and publicly criticized Webb. As history has shown, the method worked, and allowed NASA to use only one Saturn V per lunar landing mission, something other landing options did not offer.

The unbelievable size of SpaceX’s Interplanetary Transport System 

Last week (27. Sept), Elon Musk outlined SpaceX’s plan to colonize Mars. In the core of it lies the HUGE Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). It consists of a 254 feet tall (77.4 meters) booster featuring 42 Raptor engines, and a 162 ft (49.4 m) tall spaceship to ultimately carry humans in the future. Standing over 400 feet (122 m) high would make ITS the largest spaceflight system ever built.

Musk later explains that it needs to be this size in order to fit 100 people (to reduce the cost per person) in the pressurised section, and all the unpressurized cargo, which there is a lot - e.g. luggage, fuel tanks and an iron foundry for building stuff on Mars. He envisions a self-sustaining colony on the red planet within the next 50 to 100 years.

The key component of ITS is reusability, which is beautifully visualized in the 4-minute Mars travel animation. See Musk’s whole presentation here.

Vostok 1 (Russian: Восто́к, East or Orient 1) was the first spaceflight of the Vostok programme and the first manned spaceflight in history. The Vostok 3KA space capsule was launched on April 12, 1961 from Baikonur Cosmodrome with Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, making him the first human to cross into outer space.

available at my Etsy shop.