Predicting Orbital Collisions

There are now well over 20,000 objects larger than a softball in orbit around the Earth. We are poised to get even more objects, as several companies are planning on launching mega-constellations of satellites (750-4,000) to provide internet across the world from low-Earth orbiting platforms. While space appears to be quite empty, there are a […]

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Escape Velocity

Getting to another planet, or getting to the sun involves getting out of Earth’s gravity well. Essentially, Earth’s gravity extends outwards forever. If Earth were all alone in the universe, its gravity would be felt everywhere. If anything were sitting out in space and not moving at all with respect to Earth, it would feel […]

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How to Get to Mars

This is going to be the first in a series on issues surrounding colonizing Mars.  I will talk about why it is so incredibly difficult to actually get there and get back as well as some ideas on how we should realistically be looking at minimizing the costs to do this. Ever since the 1960s, […]

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Max-Q and Why Does it Matter?

In a rocket launch, they almost always talk about Max-Q, which is the point in the launch sequence where the rocket experiences the maximum dynamic pressure. First, let’s talk about what that actually means. The rocket, as it is going up into space is experiencing three forces: gravity (down), thrust (up), and atmospheric drag (down).  […]

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It Fell From the Sky

Recently, a news article talked about China’s “Failed” Space Station (Tiangong-1) re-entering Earth’s atmosphere.  There are several aspects of this that are interesting: China launched a Space Station!  That is sort of cool and crazy.  The article calls it a “failed” space station, but really, it was just about as successful as any country’s first […]

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