Tsiolkovsky developed insights into space travel and rocket science that are still in use over a hundred years later.Tags: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, rocket science, space travel, Russian Father <BR/>
Tsiolkovsky developed insights into space travel and rocket science that are still in use over a hundred years later.Tags: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, rocket science, space travel, Russian Father <BR/>
Not all space tourism is rocket science. A newly successful test of a balloon could allow paying human customers to enjoy stunning Earth views and the weightless astronaut experience by 2014.space tourism, stunning Earth views, human customers <BR/>
Lawrence LeBlond for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Have you ever wanted to build a rocket and launch it just like they do at NASA? Well now you can do just that with the innovative Rocket Science 101 game developed by the Kennedy Space Center Information Technology (KSC IT) Mobile Team with assistance from NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP).
The unique and entertaining game, designed for use both on the home computer and on Apple’s iPad, allows users of all ages to select their favorite NASA mission, build a rocket based on the selected mission, and then use the rocket to send a spacecraft into orbit — and the best part is you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do this.
As well as the entertaining aspect of Rocket Science 101, the game provides users with a way to learn all about NASA’s thrilling missions and the various components of the rockets used in those missions, as well as how they are configured and how they work together to provide a successful launch. Game players will have a unique opportunity to follow in the footsteps of engineers at LSP, who do the same things for real missions at NASA every single day.
So how did the KIT Mobile Team and LSP come up with the idea to bring real-life missions to the virtual playground?
For that, we turn to Jessica Scheffman, a Strategic Planner at NASA’s Launch Service Program.
“We had an older game that was previously done by these same teams but only focused on building a rocket and had been thinking about more ways to teach people, in a fun way, what the Launch Services Program does,” Scheffman told redOrbit.com
“With the advancement in mobile technology we thought an app would be the perfect way.” She noted that the idea for a game “has been floating around for a few years,” but the team needed just the right medium to portray the game best.
“Working with LSP, we set out to revamp and enhance the legacy website to include new functionality and features such as upgraded visuals, innovative delivery mechanisms and improved gaming quality,” Diana K. Oglesby (KSC IT Mobile Team), told redOrbit.com
“With a target user population ranging in age from preschool to adult along with heightened focus on the educational outreach aspects, new and innovative ideas were included into the application such as the concept of multiple skill levels for diverse users, visual dials for assistance in matching rocket capabilities with mission requirements and audio feedback for user selections and successes,” added Oglesby.
Scheffman noted that due to NASA’s involvement in STEM education, it “would be fun to involve the whole aspect of what Launch Services Program does to teach the younger and even older generations what we do to get people excited about NASA.”
“Who wouldn’t like to build and launch a rocket? And this way, its not just a fun game, you are learning about the whole process of what it takes to pick the right rocket to get a NASA mission into space,” she said.
The developers said they plan to add more rockets to the game in the future, as well as the possible addition of fun features that incorporate the social media aspect into the game.
“NASA is always looking at fun ways to promote space, so although I can’t speak for the entire Agency, I’m most certain there will be more to come just like this for more missions and Programs that NASA has,” noted Scheffman.
“I am very enthusiastic about this project and proud of the work produced by the team!” Oglesby told redOrbit.com “This was an extraordinary effort, and there is much excitement about the impact of Rocket Science 101 and mobile technologies for this Agency. I am very thrilled for the immense outreach prospective this new technology presents for NASA and LSP.”
“Our team specializes in the design and development of secure mobile business applications as well as public-facing outreach applications and promoting best practices for the KSC community and NASA at large,” said Oglesby.
Download Rocket Science 101 app for iPad here.
Play the game on your computer here.nasa mission, Launch Services Program, Kennedy Space Center Information Technology, Diana K. Oglesby, Mobile Team, Jessica Scheffman <BR/>
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., June 27, 2012 — /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – With NASA’s Rocket Science 101, a new game designed for computers and iPad users, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to launch a spacecraft.
NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, provides access to space for the studies of Earth and exploration of our solar system and the universe. Now, LSP is turning over the virtual selection, construction and launch of a mission to players who will decide the best rocket to assemble to launch a spacecraft. Rocket scientists in LSP do the same thing for real rockets and missions every day.
Players select their favorite NASA mission and choose from three skill levels for building a rocket to send the spacecraft into orbit. The Rocket Science 101 challenge provides players an opportunity to learn about NASA missions and the various components of the launch vehicles, including how rockets are configured and how they work together to successfully launch a spacecraft.
LSP managers, engineers and other specialists match spacecraft with the right rocket to carry out real-life missions, a process often done years ahead of a launch. As liftoff nears, teams oversee the launch vehicle’s engineering and manufacturing, including its integration with the spacecraft. LSP conducts the countdowns for NASA’s scientific missions and provides additional quality assurance along with other controls to ensure a successful mission.
The application was developed by the Kennedy Information Technology Mobile Team in conjunction with LSP. Rocket Science 101 is available for iPad users via iTunes at:
Rocket Science 101 is available online at:
To learn more about LSP, rockets and NASA missions visit:
SOURCE NASAnasa mission, Kennedy Information Technology Mobile Team, rocket scientist, nasa missions, rocket scientists <BR/>
NASA’s budget woes are no secret. But news that the space giant is outsourcing rocket science work to design students — and compensating them with course credit — makes us wonder whether the situation is even worse than we’d imagined.
Okay, it’s not exactly rocket science. This spring, eight MFA candidates at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco are at work creating a user interface for software that will allow an astronaut on the International Space Station to remotely control a four-wheeled K10 robot here on Earth.
In summer 2013, an astronaut on board the Space Station will use the students’ software — running on an IBM consumer laptop with its standard trackpad and joystick — to guide a robot on the ground at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, as it scouts territory and then mounts a simulated radio telescope.
NASA often partners with outside agencies and institutions of higher learning, but Terry Fong, director of the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA Ames, said that to his knowledge this is the first time the space agency has worked with a design school.
The ultimate goal of the remote-control technology is to allow astronauts in space to use robots to do more of their heavy lifting.
“As humans head further into space, we find ways of using robots to help them live and work and do things on other planets,” said Fong — a statement which conjured images of cosmonauts carrying American couch-potato existence to the far corners of the galaxy, Tweeting, noshing on freeze-dried snacks, and doing the breaststroke at zero G’s while their robot lackeys scratch out a meager existence in the thin exoplanetary soil below.
While farming organic space vegetables is not necessarily on the horizon, Fong said he expects robots to help astronauts by performing tasks too dangerous, boring, repetitive or lengthy to be optimal for humans, such as mounting antennas, setting up solar arrays and mining for precious metals on the surface of the moon.
Yes, you read that right. There are appreciable amounts of “platinum-group metals” on our satellite, said Fong, and with robots to do the grunt-work, “it might be economically viable to go to the moon and mine minerals, process them, and then return the end product to Earth.”
The art-school outreach program makes us happy on two counts: first, that NASA’s doing some outside-the-gov thinking about how to refill its coffers, and second, for the sake of starving design students everywhere, that the agency might remember whom to thank, when the day comes, with some lunar-platinum bling.Academy of Art University, Photo courtesy, nasa ames research center, Intelligent Robotics Group <BR/>
With rockets, so many things can and do go wrong
By The Associated Press Sunday, April 15, 2012
FILE – In this April 8, 2012 file photo, a North Korean soldier stands in front of the country’s Unha-3 rocket at a launching site in Tongchang-ri, North Korea. It really is rocket science and it really is hard. North Korea proved that again. The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn’t that complicated. Controlling that reaction and going where you want, when you want – that’s where engineers earn their money and ulcers. And it’s where past rockets and spaceships have ended in spectacular and sometimes deadly failures. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
It really is rocket science and it really is hard. North Korea proved that again.
The giant explosion that gets a rocket off the ground isn’t that complicated. The superhot, superfast exhaust from that giant fire is funneled in a way that shoots the rocket upward. North Korea’s Unha-3 rocket combines two liquid propellants _ hydrazine and nitric acid _ that ignite when mixed, space experts say.
That’s the easy part.
Controlling that reaction and going where you want, when you want _ that’s where engineers earn their money and ulcers. And it’s where past rockets and spaceships have ended in spectacular and sometimes deadly failures.
“Anybody can make something go boom. Controlling it is hard,” said former NASA associate administrator Scott Pace, director of space policy at George Washington University.
All that power has to be confined by metal and controlled by electronics. It takes the power of about a ton of TNT just to get 60 pounds into orbit at almost 18,000 mph. One tiny mistake, one mismatch in devices, one miscommunication, one bubble, and boom.
In 1986, the fiery power of the space shuttle Challenger burned through an O-ring seal and seven astronauts died.
Other control problems have doomed spaceships. Aerodynamics _ keeping the pointy end straight up _ is key. If a rocket veers too much it just breaks apart, said Jonathan McDowell of Harvard University.
New countries launching rockets generally fail half the time, he said. John Glenn recalled how NASA’s first astronauts watched in horror as an Atlas rocket blew up in front of them. More recently, private U.S. company SpaceX failed on its first three Falcon 1 launch attempts before finally succeeding twice. Even the normally reliable Russians couldn’t get a rocket to Mars last fall because of a post-launch failure that ended up with the spaceship on board falling back to Earth.
What doomed the North Korea rocket minutes after launch Friday isn’t yet known.
Failure often comes from not putting things together right. Tens of thousands of parts have to match perfectly and talk to each other.
NASA’s 2001 Mars Odyssey probe took 10,000 separate actions to go right to get there, said Scott Hubbard of Stanford University. Two years earlier, NASA mistakenly used both metric and English measuring units, dooming a $125 million Martian probe.
Former NASA deputy administrator Hans Mark said most failures are from human error. He pointed to a dropped oxygen tank that caused the near-fatal Apollo 13 explosion.
Poor communication between engineers and managers about known problems was a factor in both the 1986 and 2003 space shuttle disasters and that’s a bigger issue for totalitarian societies like North Korea, Pace said.
“In many ways, the worst enemy of NASA is `Star Trek’,” Pace said. “Captain Picard says `engage’ and the ship moves. And people think `How hard can this be?’”
North Korea knows.
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It really is rocket science, and it really is hard. North Korea proved that again.rocket science, North Korea <BR/>
LEARNING your times tables or the periodic elements isn’t always rocket science.
But for a few pupils in Blaenau Gwent, that’s exactly what they have made it – so they can learn more about the universe in school.
Glyncoed Comprehensive is taking lessons out of this world in an effort to introduce more schoolgirls to science and engineering subjects.
Its pupils have been taking astronomy classes during lunch hours and after school as part of their GCSE studies.
To help with their coursework, they gained access to the Mauna Kea space telescopes at The Institute of Astronomy in Hawaii via the internet.
And more recently, they have also had their work published in the Schools Special Review journal published by the Association for Science Education, which examined how the subject has aided the curriculum at Glyncoed Comprehensive.
Maths and science teacher Mark Harris said the subject has received great feedback from the school’s pupils, some of whom have received A grades for their end of term examinations.
He said: “I was asked to find out how we could get more girls involved in “STEM” subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths – so I approached the University of Glamorgan to ask what they could do.”
Mark added: “For a couple of years now, they have been sending astronomy lecturers to our school to take part in practical and theory lessons and it has become so popular, they have expanded to Ebbw Vale Comprehensive too.
“Initially, it gave our pupils the opportunity to gain an extra GCSE grade but we have seen a lot more interest in our science and maths subjects, especially following shows like Stargazing, which featured recently on television.”
The course is broken up into two pieces of coursework with an exam at the end of term.
It covers four areas including the sun, planetary systems, stars, and galaxies and cosmology.
By using state-of-the-art telescopes in Hawaii and Australia, they were also able to see galaxies far, far away and nebulae in the night sky.
Sarah Roberts, astronomy lecturer at the University of Glamorgan working with Dark Sky Wales, said this is a great benefit to schoolchildren learning more about technology and physics.
“I think astronomy is an inspirational subject and something everyone is interested in,” she said.
“But a lot of people do not realise how much it involves technology, including maths and physics.
“Using tools on the other side of the world, the children are able to plan what the want to look at in space and how to present it in their work.”science and engineering, university of glamorgan, Glyncoed Comprehensive, astronomy classes, the Institute of Astronomy, Association for Science Education, Ebbw Vale Comprehensive <BR/>
NASA PHOTO / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVESAstronaut Ed White, shown in 1965, lost a spare glove in the first American spacewalk. Now thousands of pieces of space junk orbit the Earth, posing a threat to spacecraft. (CP)
IS there any surprise that the first people to clean up space may be the Swiss?
Cleanliness is next to rocket science for the little nation, even though it has very few satellites of its own.
It has designed a satellite that will grab dangerous space junk and plunge into Earth’s atmosphere, burning up faster than you can say Toblerone.
The tiny satellite will be the size of a shoebox, 30 centimetres by 10 by 10. It could launch by 2015, and it’s nearly the smallest and cheapest satellite one can make — about $11 million, counting a ride on a launch rocket that can carry many small satellites together.
CleanSpace One isn’t designed to last long.
Its job is to approach a piece of orbiting space junk, at which point four flexible claws unfold like a new attachment on a Swiss Army knife.
These wrap around the junk and lock it up. Then CleanSpace One fires its engine forward, in effect, hitting the brakes. It loses speed and falls with its junk cargo into the atmosphere.
NASA is working on a cleanup satellite, too, but hasn’t launched one yet.
NASA currently keeps track of approximately 16,000 pieces of orbiting junk weighing one kilogram or more, each capable of destroying a satellite or manned spacecraft if it hits at thousands of kilometres an hour. And the number is growing.
Some are satellites that have run out of fuel. Some are discarded rocket motors.
In 2009, a dead rocket motor hit an Iridium communications satellite, throwing fragments all around like shrapnel.
In 2007, China intentionally blew up a satellite in a weapons test. That alone created an estimated 3,000 more pieces of space junk in low Earth orbit.
Already, the Swiss have a target, a tiny Swiss nanosatellite just 10 cm wide that is studying air-glow luminescence in the upper atmosphere.
The legalities of space junk are tricky: Technically, each country owns its own junk, meaning the Swiss can only clean up their own limited supply.
But Margaret Campbell-Brown, an expert in meteors and space junk at Western University (formerly known as the University of Western Ontario), says the Swiss invention could be licensed to other countries to let them share the work.
“The main problem is you don’t want large pieces to hit the (International) Space Station because there are people in it,” she said. “So, you could concentrate on large pieces of debris that are in the path of the space station, or anything else that you really don’t want to replace.”
– Postmedia Newsspace junk, rocket science, Swiss Army knife, Earth's atmosphere <BR/>
Hey, you got simulation in my roleplay! Hey, you got roleplay in my simulation! Wait, it’s two great tastes that taste great together!
Thus my students surprised me when they tossed in a role-based stance into what I thought was a straightforward systems engineering analysis. Herein lies the tale.
Background: I’m teaching a course in space mission operations that focuses heavily on scenario analysis. I presented them with a case where they had to balance risk versus success for a space-borne telescope. In rocket science, risk is never something you can eliminate, no matter how much money or resources you toss at it. That’s part of what makes it rocket science. Risk can be reduced, mitigated, or even accepted, but never eliminated.
The example was to show that you could boost reliability by accepting more risk, and was based on a historical case called SAC-B + CUBIC. SAC-B was the big mission, and CUBIC was a tag-along. Put simply, the choices were whether to minimize risk to the entire mission (SAC-B) by accepting higher risk of failure for your specific component (CUBIC), or to maximize your own success (CUBIC) at the cost of jeopardizing the entire mission (SAC-B).
I should have realized they’d roleplay it. The question that surprised me was “are we in charge of the entire mission of SAC-B, or are we the CUBIC people?” And they were quite right, as that does make a difference.
If they were in charge of the main SAC-B, then obviously they’d prefer to shunt the risk onto the sub-mission CUBIC. However, if they were that CUBIC sub-mission, their initial stance was “to heck with the primary, let’s make them take the risk because we only care about our success or failure!”
From an abstract engineering point of view, that was unexpected. However, that is often how the real world works, a “world revolves around me” pragmatism I found refreshing. And in the process, we had to add components including political concerns and game theory. For example, if you take a hardline “only we matter” stance, will future missions partner with you? Does reputation matter?
In short, by invoking real world concerns, my students turned my cold equations into a roleplay.
Until next month,
p.s. the short scenario is below, for reference. Permission granted for anyone who wishes to use it in any teaching capacity.
The US/Argentina solar observatory SAC-B carries the HXRS and GXRE instruments for studying the high energy spectrum of solar flares plus the ISENA instrument for measuring neutral particles.
SAC-B costs $21.5 million.
The Cosmic Unresolved Background Instrument using CCDs (CUBIC) is a secondary payload designed to fit onto the back side of SAC-B (away from the sun) to do spectrographic (not imaging) measurements of the X-ray diffuse background. It is also a technology prototype providing the first testing of X-ray CCDs in space (prior to their use in other more expensive missions). CUBIC cost $2 million to build (and took 4 years of time).
(note: SAC-B did launch on Nov 4, 1996 via Pegasus. Full details are at: http://www2.astro.psu.edu/xray/cubic/index.html)
CUBIC is sealed during launch then has to open its ‘door’ to operate. This door only has to open once. If it opens, CUBIC is a success; if it doesn’t open, CUBIC fails. There are 3 methods for opening doors in space: motor, spring, and explosive bolts.
Motors: medium reliability; failure = CUBIC full or partial failure
Spring: medium reliability; failure = CUBIC full failure
Explosive bolts: very reliable; failure = damages entire SAC-B platform.
Discuss whether to use a motor, spring or bolt.
This photo shows the SAC-B satellite on its Ground Support
Equipment in a clean room at the OSC facility on Vandenberg
Air Force Base, awaiting its attachment to the rocket.
The satellite is on its side, with CUBIC on the near side,
facing to the left.
The solar panels are installed, but are still covered with
protective covers. (source: astro.psu.edu)you got simulation, risk of failure, rocket science <BR/>