Posts

Showing posts from February, 2021

What is hypergolic rocket fuel?

Image
We all know how rocket science is relatively complicated. Actually, not entirely. Hypergolic fuels are pretty simple. A Hypergolic fuel mixture is usually used in rockets, and consists of 2 main materials, a fuel and an oxidizer. The fuel is usually a form of Hydrazine, and the oxidizer is usually Dinitrogen Tetroxide. The Hydrazine and Dinitrogen Tetroxide ignite spontaneously upon contact, which is why it is considered Hypergolic. Hypergolic fuels are indeed less complicated than what can be called "usual" rocket fuel, like a mixture of RP-1 (rocket grade kerosene), and LOX (liquid oxygen). The LOX helps ignite your fuel, which in this case is RP-1/Kerosene. You also need an outside ignition source to ignite the LOX + Kerosene mixture, as they do not instantly combust. With Hypergolic fuels, you don't need an outside ignition source, at all. They ignite themselves, an outside ignition source like ignition fluid or spark plugs would be quite useless. SpaceX's Crew Dr

Perseverance Rover lands on Mars

Image
Yesterday, the NASA Perseverance Rover touched down on Mars. This is a huge success for everyone at NASA and JPL, but also a huge success for all humans. The Perseverance rover will search for ancient life on Mars since the Spirit and Opportunity rovers both found evidence of past water on Mars, which has now evaporated or turned into ice water. Because there used to be water on Mars, and there is evidence of it, there is pretty much no way there was not some kind of life form, because wherever there is water, there is life. The Perseverance Rover hasn't landed on Mars alone. The older Curiosity Rover is still on Mars roaming around gathering science & data and should be there for a long time. There is also the Mars Insight Lander that is gathering data about Mars' Material and interior. This isn't it though! Perseverance is carrying a special object with it. It's a small helicopter with carbon fiber blades and will attempt to do the first powered flight on another

Different rocket engine types, which one is the best?

Image
  There are many different types of rocket engines, usually referred to as rocket engine cycles. We will be discussing 3 main cycles in this blog post. Open Cycle/Gas Generator, Closed Cycle/Staged Combustion Cycle, Expander cycle, and pressure-fed cycle. Open Cycle/Gas Generator Cycle: The open cycle class rocket engines are engines that take a tiny bit of fuel and a tiny bit of oxidizer, and turn it into a gas by burning it, to spin the turbopumps. That small amount of fuel and oxidizer is being burned in the gas generator chamber. The turbopumps are the super fast spinning pumps that convert low pressure fuel to high pressure, shooting them into the combustion chamber. The exhaust from gas generator chamber is then dumped overboard from a pipe. This leads to a waste of efficiency and slightly less thrust. Closed Cycle/Staged Combustion Cycle: The closed cycle class rocket engines are nearly the same as open cycle, except instead of dumping the gas generator exhaust overboard on anot

NASA has chosen Falcon Heavy to launch the first 2 gateway modules

Image
  NASA has selected the private company SpaceX to launch the first 2 Gateway Modules. They have selected SpaceX's Falcon Heavy Rocket, their most powerful and capable rocket at the moment, also currently the most powerful operational rocket. The current plan is to launch these two modules NET (no earlier than) the year 2024.  Above is a render of the gateway. Gateway is a lunar space station, aka it is a space station orbiting the Moon. Although it does have the word station in its name, it is definitely not stationary. It will be in a very specific orbit around the moon, where the strength of Earth and the Sun's gravity is just right, that its orbit will never go behind the moon, and only go around its "sides" so that there is always a stable and strong connection to Earth. The Lunar Gateway will be a temporary home to astronauts from various countries, to descend down to the moon and come back. How it will work: A spacecraft, like NASA's Orion capsule (which is

The first black astronaut | Black History Month |

Image
Guion Bluford was the first black American astronaut. He was also a fighter pilot and engineer, like lots of other astronauts. He had spent 28 days, 16 hours, and 33 minutes in space. He flew on 4 space shuttle missions, STS-8, STS-39, STS-61-A, and STS-53, which are all Space Shuttle Challenger, and Space Shuttle Discovery.  Guion Bluford had received a degree in Aerospace Engineering. When Bluford was selected to become a NASA Astronaut to go to space in the year 1978, he had shortly after, begin training, which lasted about 1 year. In August 1979, Bluford was officially an astronaut. Bluford later retired. He had received countless awards for many different things. Bluford's last mission was STS-53, which launched from Kennedy Space Center on December 2, 1992. The crew of five deployed the classified Department of Defense payload DOD-1 and then performed several Military-Man-in-Space and NASA experiments. After completing 115 orbits of the Earth in 175 hours, Discovery landed at

Why its better to create things with minimum complexity.

Image
  From plain windows desktop or android phone code to rocket avionics code, most of the software code behind these applications are complex. Some are way more complex than usual, and barely any of them are simple. This has both good sides and downsides. The more complex the code is, the more likely there is to go wrong. The less complex the code is, the less there is to go wrong. This especially applies to rockets , like the Space Shuttle, SpaceX's Falcon 9 Rocket, and more. Not just the code, but the actual structure and engineering. If you have a rocket with so many complex parts, there are so many more things that could easily go wrong, which could cause the rocket to explode. It could be something as simple as a new welding technique, the weld could break mid-flight and explode the rocket. If you are a rocket nerd and wondering how this would explode the rocket, let's just say both the tanks welds for the fuel and the oxidizer tank broke and the fuels mixed mid-air and foun

What exactly caused the SpaceX Starship SN9 Landing Failure?

Image
  ALL IMAGE CREDIT GOES TO LABPADRE AND SPACEX SpaceX's prototype test vehicle, called Starship, Serial Number 9, lifted off for its 10km test flight yesterday afternoon. As it soared all the way up to just above its 10km targeted apogee, it shut down its engines in a sequence. Cutting off the 1st engine, then shortly after, the second, and finally the third. When the third and longest/final running engine was cut off, the vehicle repositioned itself to have its belly facing the ground, bellyflopping, as seen in the image below. By performing this rather unique maneuver, it gives Starship a crazy advantage. If you forgot, Starship is the vehicle we have been talking about, as seen in both images above. It gives Starship an advantage by producing a crazy amount of drag. Instead of using up fuel to remain at a slow and steady speed while coasting back down to the landing site, it goes horizontal and uses (almost) all of its surface area to produce nothing but drag, and a slight amoun