The biggest problem with rockets is the fact that they have to carry all their fuel into space with them. One of the reasons that rockets like the Pegasus and SpaceShipOne are so interesting is because they are carried up about 50,000 feet (~15 km) into the air with an airplane, are dropped, and then […]Read More If we want to get to Mars, we have to change the game – part 1
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 […]Read More Predicting Orbital Collisions
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 […]Read More Escape Velocity
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, […]Read More How to Get to Mars
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). […]Read More Max-Q and Why Does it Matter?
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 […]Read More It Fell From the Sky
This week, Space-X had a test launch of the Falcon Heavy, the largest rocket ever launched besides the Saturn-5. It was a great success, putting a Tesla Roadster into trans-Martian orbit. Space-X has taken a fantastic first step. If you have not seen the launch, you should definitely watch it – it is fantastic. While […]Read More Why the Falcon Heavy Makes Good Business Sense