How do spacecraft navigate in space ?

How do spacecraft navigate in space ?

paulshillito Rockets, Science, space 0 Comments

How does a space probe like Voyager 2, which was launched in 1977, visit the 4 outer planets and travel over 17 billion kilometres over 40 years with almost next to nothing in the way of fuel. By the time Voyager 2 had reached Neptune, it had swung by Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, travelled 7 billion kilometres and was still within 100km of it’s target and all with mid 1970’s technology. In the movies space craft just seem to fly to where ever they want and get there in no time at all but in our version of reality its …

Evel Knievel and The Reusable X-3 Volksrocket

Evel Knievel and The Reusable X-3 Volksrocket

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In the last year or so, its become almost commonplace to see SpaceX & Blue origin bringing rockets back after a launch for refurbishment and reuse. This has been the goal for billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos backed with NASA knowledge for well over a decade now. But over 40 years ago another man had the same dream of a low-cost reusable rocket that very nearly came to fruition from the unlikely source of a two-car garage in an ordinary Californian suburb and could have made the world famous daredevil Evel Knievel the worlds first private astronaut. That man …

Sputnik - 60 years on from the Start of the Space Race

Sputnik – 60 years on from the Start of the Space Race

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That simple little beep, beep, beep was the sound that started the Space Race. It was heard for the first time 60 years ago, when, on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1 into a low Earth orbit. It was only a metal ball, 22 inches or about 56 centimetres in diameter, with four antennae sticking out of it – but it had an impact far greater than its size. In fact, it changed the course of human history. The idea of a satellite was first raised in an engineering memo written by Mikhail Tikhonravov in 1954 whilst …

How the First Spacewalk Nearly Ended in Disaster - Alexei Leonov Voskhod 2

How the First Spacewalk Nearly Ended in Disaster – Alexei Leonov Voskhod 2

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When Alexey Leonov made the world’s first spacewalk in 1965, it was hailed as yet another great success for the USSR in the space race against America. It was only after the fall of the Soviet Union that the west found out that while it may well have been made to look like a success by the Soviet Press, it was, in fact, it was teetering on the edge of disaster from the moment Leonov stepped out of the airlock till the crew were rescued from a desolate location in a frozen forest. In 1961 Yuri Gagarin orbited the Earth …

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

Project Orion – The Atomic Bomb Powered Space Rocket

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If I told that here was a plan to launch a spacecraft the size of an ocean liner, that would weigh 130 times more than the Space Shuttle, could travel with unrivalled speed across our Solar System and was powered by riding on a series pulses created by exploding thousands of miniature atomic bombs, one after another, another behind the ship, you would probably say that I’d been reading too many sci-fi books or websites. However, in the 1950’s and 60’s just such an idea was taken very seriously. ‘Project Orion’ was a classified American project to harness the power …