science rocket

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

Sounding Rocket Science in the Arctic

We sent three suborbital sounding rockets right into the auroras above Alaska on the evening of March 1 local time from the Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks, Alaska.  

Sounding rockets are suborbital rockets that fly up in an arc and immediately come back down, with a total flight time around 20 minutes. 

Though these rockets don’t fly fast enough to get into orbit around Earth, they still give us valuable information about the sun, space, and even Earth itself. Sounding rockets’ low-cost access to space is also ideal for testing instruments for future satellite missions.

Sounding rockets fly above most of Earth’s atmosphere, allowing them to see certain types of light – like extreme ultraviolet and X-rays – that don’t make it all the way to the ground because they are absorbed by the atmosphere. These kinds of light give us a unique view of the sun and processes in space.

The sun seen in extreme ultraviolet light by the Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite.

Of these three rockets, two were part of the Neutral Jets in Auroral Arcs mission, collecting data on winds influenced by the electric fields related to auroras. Sounding rockets are the perfect vehicle for this type of study, since they can fly directly through auroras – which exist in a region of Earth’s upper atmosphere too high for scientific balloons, but too low for satellites.

The third rocket that launched on March 1 was part of the ISINGLASS mission (short for Ionospheric Structuring: In Situ and Ground-based Low Altitude Studies). ISINGLASS included two rockets designed to launch into two different types of auroras in order to collect detailed data on their structure, with the hope of better understanding the processes that create auroras. The initial ISINGLASS rocket launched a few weeks earlier, on Feb. 22, also from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska.

Auroras are caused when charged particles trapped in Earth’s vast magnetic field are sent raining down into the atmosphere, usually triggered by events on the sun that propagate out into space. 

Team members at the range had to wait until conditions were just right until they could launch – including winds, weather, and science conditions. Since these rockets were studying aurora, that means they had to wait until the sky was lit up with the Northern Lights.

Regions near the North and South Pole are best for studying the aurora, because the shape of Earth’s magnetic field naturally funnels aurora-causing particles near the poles. 

But launching sensitive instruments near the Arctic Circle in the winter has its own unique challenges. For example, rockets have to be insulated with foam or blankets every time they’re taken outside – including while on the launch pad – because of the extremely low temperatures.

For more information on sounding rockets, visit www.nasa.gov/soundingrockets.

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In about 20 minutes SpaceX will attempt to reuse a rocket booster they’ve already used before. If they succeed it could be a very serious step forward in space exploration capabilities.

Go SpaceX. Pleassssse…

Would there be a scientific way to determine how far Team Rocket would need to blast off to disappear into the sky? – Requested by @jc-75

Prepare for trouble, and make it double! If you are part of the pokémon fandom, you probably know Jessie, James, and Meowth’s motto by heart. Equally famous, however, is the fact that Team Rocket “blasts off” a lot. Nearly once every episode, Team Rocket is hurled into the sky, disappearing in a tiny sparkle.

Things look smaller the farther away they are: that much everyone knows. The relationship is not linear, however: something that is twice as far away does not necessarily appear twice as small. The numbers are actually related through angles and trigonometry: sines, cosines, and tangents.

Because of that, for this problem we want to use angular distances. Angular distance is a measurement of how much of your field of vision something covers. A full circle is 360 degrees. A full moon, for example, has an angular diameter of about 0.5 degrees: it covers half a degree in the sky.

Angles can be divided up into smaller units. There are 60 arcminutes in one degree, and 60 arcseconds in one arcminute. The human eye has an angular resolution of 1 arcminute (0.02 degrees). That is the smallest thing we can see in the sky: If something covers less than 1 arcminute, or eye can no longer detect it and it effectively disappears from view, like Team Rocket fading into the sky.

So: how far away does Team Rocket have to be to cover less than 1 arcminute in angular distance? I can’t find any official heights for Jessie and James, so I will estimate 6′0″ (1.8 meters) as an upper limit. After that, it’s just about drawing triangles.

Using 1 arcminute as the angular distance and 1.8 m as the height, you can easily solve for distance. Team Rocket effectively disappears at a distance of 6188 meters (3.84 miles).

Angular resolution is dependent on the size of the eyeball, so pokémon with large eyes like Claydol or Froakie would be able to see Team Rocket farther away than that. But for humans, that’s how far Team Rocket needs to blast off to disappear.

Team Rocket blasts off at least 6188 meters (3.84 miles) away in order to disappear from view.

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NASA launch to be broadcast live with 360-degree video feed

  • On Tuesday, NASA will launch the Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft, the S.S. John Glenn, into space at Cape Canaveral, and viewers can see a full 360-degree view of its departure.
  • NASA will be broadcasting the world’s first 360-degree livestream of a rocket launch for the Tuesday April 18th event.
  • The immersive video will allow viewers to use their mouse or move their personal device to see every inch of the launch site at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex-41.
  • The livestream will be even better for anyone who owns a virtual reality headset, as NASA promises the view will be “as if they were actually standing on the launch pad.”
  • The livestream will begin 10 minutes prior to the spacecraft’s departure, which is currently scheduled to take place within a 30-minute window between 11:11 a.m. to 11:41 a.m. Eastern.
  • Viewers can watch the livestream on the NASA Television Youtube channel. Read more (4/17/17 10 AM)

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SpaceX makes landing a rocket look easy 👏

Yesterday (19 Feb 2017), the second stage of Falcon 9 boosted a Dragon cargo capsule into orbit to deliver equipment to the International Space Station, and the first stage flew back and touched down on solid ground. It was the 8th successful landing (out of total 13) for SpaceX.

Every success brings Elon Musk’s vision of a fully reusable rocket transport system (between Earth and Mars) closer.

video source: Musk’s Instagram

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The United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket carrying the Orbital ATK Cygnus module rolls to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Launch Pad 41 in this time-lapse video. The rollout is in preparation for the Orbital ATK CRS-7 mission to deliver supplies to the International Space Station.

Launch is currently scheduled for 11:11 a.m. EDT, watch live coverage: http://www.nasa.gov/live 

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