Welcome to Rocket Science!

I teach a class at the University of Michigan called Rocket Science.  It is a 100 level class that is meant for students who are not science or engineering majors and need to take a science class.  Therefore, I don’t use a large amount of math to explain the concepts that I am trying to teach.

A couple of years ago, I started writing lessons in a book, thinking that one day I would publish it.  Well, I have been adding more and more to the book, but am not really close to publishing it.  I guess I would like to start putting some of these lessons out there to see if people are interested in learning about all of this stuff.  My hope is yes.

I will try to publish some sort of “lesson” roughly once a week.  These will mostly be about the basics of rocket science.  In fact, here is a description of the class that I teach:

This class will teach you some basics about rocket science – how rockets work, who created the first rockets, which countries did what in the space race, where satellites orbit, how to get to the moon and Mars and other places and interesting things about NASA, the USSR, space, airplanes, energy, motors, lightsabers, teleportation, etc. This class will have a small amount of math in it, but it will be relatively easy to understand math (and you won’t have to memorize any equations – just how to use them). Here is a list of specific topics that we will cover in class:

  • History of Rocket Science (pre WWII, WWII, The Space Race, The Decline)
  • Some basic physics (Newton, Forces, Thrust, etc.)
  • Engines of all sorts (cars, electric, generators, etc.)
  • Rocket Engines (Solids, Liquids, Hybrids, Nuclear, crazy stuff).
  • Orbits (Kepler, Low, Geo, Transfers, interplanetary, interstellar).
  • Satellite Missions (Voyager, Galelio, Messenger, the Space Shuttle, etc.)
  • The Space Environment (The sun and heliosphere, radiation belts, aurora, etc.)
  • Politics of space.
  • Some crazy stuff (Lightsabers, blasters, teleportation, rocket cars, jet packs, Iron Man, curving bullets, etc.)

I will probably mostly focus on the basic physic, engines, and orbits, but will definitely discuss some of the other stuff on this blog. Enjoy!


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