Rockets 101 – How to turn during flight ? 

To be able to control is what distinguishes a toy rocket from a real one. And it is of quintessence to be able to channel the rocket’s direction. To be able to fly is cool, but you what is ever more cool, to be able to pinpoint the destination and its trajectory.

In most modern rockets, this is accomplished by a system known as Gimbaled Thrust.

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In a gimbaled thrust system, the exhaust nozzle of the rocket can be swiveled from side to side. As the nozzle is moved, the direction of the thrust is changed relative to the center of gravity of the rocket and a torque is generated. As a result, the rocket changes direction. After necessary corrections are made, the exhaust nozzle is brought back to its initial state.

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The angle by which the rocket’s nozzle swivels is known as the Gimbaled Angle.

Up, Up and Away! 

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PC: NASA, learnengineering, achingtentacles,campnavigator

Looking at the universe Naked- An Ontological Awakening.

It was Stephen Hawking who said:

We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the universe. That’s what makes us special.

The pictures showcase the universe in its cosmic brilliance. Spanning the entire electromagnetic spectrum, these images have been false- colored to help us perceive the universe that lies beyond our visual cognizance.

Courtesy: Chromoscope.

Taming the sound from a Shuttle using water.

What purpose would a water tank have in the proximity of a space shuttle launch? 

Well, believe it or not, it is used to suppress the acoustical energy (sound and rocket exhaust reflected from the flame trench and Mobile Launcher Platform during launch.

Underlying Principle.

NASA came up with an ingenious way to suppress the sound- Bubbles!

Bubbles are excellent at absorbing the sound. They absorb the sound energy and as a consequence of which get heated up. NASA exploited this and sprayed water molecules in the air surrounding the Mobile Launcher Platform. This reduced the sound from the firing of the rockets by almost a half!

The Sound Suppression System.

The Sound Suppression System includes an elevated water tank with a capacity of 300,000 gallons (1,135,620 liters). The tank is 290 feet (88 meters) high and is located adjacent to each pad. 

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The water releases just prior to the ignition of the Shuttle engines, and flows through 7-foot-diameter (2.1-meter) pipes for about 20 seconds. Water pours from 16 nozzles atop the flame deflectors and from outlets in the main engines exhaust hole in the Mobile Launcher Platform, starting at T minus 6.6 seconds. 

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A rainbird nozzle in action

By the time the solid rocket boosters ignite, a torrent of water will be flowing onto the Mobile Launcher Platform from six large quench nozzles, or “rainbirds,” mounted on its surface. 

The peak rate of flow from all sources is 900,000 gallons (3,406,860 liters) of water per minute at 9 seconds after liftoff.

Exquisite, isn’t it? 

PC: NASA.

Adios Pluto!

The New horizons is now 15 million km away from Pluto whizzing away from the solar system with a heliocentric velocity( speed wrt sun ) of 14.51 km/s.

This photograph was taken just seven hours after the New Horizons closest approach on July 14. It unveils layers of haze in Pluto’s atmosphere which are backlit by the sun. 

“The hazes detected in this image are a key element in creating the complex hydrocarbon compounds that give Pluto’s surface its reddish hue,” 

What is a Haze?

Haze is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky. 

Why do hazes form on Pluto?

Models suggest the hazes form when ultraviolet sunlight breaks up methane gas particles — a simple hydrocarbon in Pluto’s atmosphere.

The breakdown of methane triggers the buildup of more complex hydrocarbon gases, such as ethylene and acetylene, which also were discovered in Pluto’s atmosphere by New Horizons. 

As these hydrocarbons fall to the lower, colder parts of the atmosphere, they condense into ice particles that create the hazes

The New Horizon spacecraft is at Pluto!

New Horizons is an Interplanetary space probe launched by NASA on January 19, 2006. The primary goal of this space mission is to study the Kuiper belt and gather deeper insights about Pluto and it’s moons. 

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After travelling for 3463 days and 3 Billion miles, it is finally in at Pluto.It is the First ever spacecraft to visit Pluto and for the first time, we would be able to see the remarkable High-Resolution photographs Pluto by Wednesday afternoon. 

Why Wednesday? It is because the probe is busy collecting data and not transmitting any of it and since it take around 4.5 hours for the data to reach the earth from the probe, the wait for the images is inevitable.

Here is a photo of Pluto taken by the New Horizon on July 12 as it approaches Pluto.

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Setting the debate: How big is Pluto?

Although the seminal data from the data is yet to be received, scientists have already started to crunch on the available data.

The size of the previously known dwarf planet was always debated upon and now the New Horizon has sealed it. The mission scientists have found out that Pluto is 1,473 miles (2,370 kilometers) in diameter. 

This was determined from the images obtained from LORRI ( Long Range Reconnaissance Imager).

Pluto is Red!

In addition to determining the size of Pluto Images taken by the New Horizon also reveal that Pluto is Red is color. ( Is that a heart ? )

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Things would get really captivating once the core data starts pouring in. But till then hang on to your seats as one of the most remarkable events in the history of space exploration is about to transpire.

PC: NASA.

The Week Amalgamation.

1.  Physics envy.

2. The acoustic sweet spot.

3. Why every ‘spot’ is not a ‘sweet’ spot?.

4. How is lift actually generated?.

5. A photographer and a few lenses.

6. Total Internal Reflection.

7. The fairy of the Eage Nebula- M16.