How Did NASA Lose a Mars Space Probe Because of Maths?

How Did NASA Lose a Mars Space Probe Because of Maths?

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For all the knowledge of the thousands of scientists and engineers in the space industry, sometimes the old adage “The best-laid plans of mice and men” can equally be applied to their efforts. This was certainly the case on the Mars Climate Orbiter mission of 1999 and this would go down in space history as one of the biggest facepalms to date. If you’re an avid comment reader, you may have seen comments on my videos about why I tend to use both Imperial and metric units, instead of just metric and the simple answer is that many people in …

Black Arrow : The Lipstick Rocket - A Very British Space Program

Black Arrow : The Lipstick Rocket – A Very British Space Program

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Although it may seem as though it was just a two horse race between the USA and USSR. From the mid-1960s, a small club of nations one by one gained the ability to independently launch satellites using their own rockets and in chronological order, they were the Soviet Union, United States, France, Japan, China and the United Kingdom. Whilst the Americans & Soviets threw billions of dollars & Rubels and the power of the state at the problem of space, the British after the second world war, were almost bankrupt and shadows of their former industrial might but they still …

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 …

Space Station Collision - Mir Crash with Progress Supply Vessel

Space Station Collision – Mir Crash with Progress Supply Vessel

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Of all the 100’s of thousands of pieces of space junk and nearly 1500 satellites in orbit around the earth, it may come as a surprise that so far there has been only one major collision involving a manned craft and it affected both Russians and Americans. After the Apollo Moon landings, the US switched it long-term goal to the Space Shuttle system and the Soviet Union shifted its focus to a permanent working presence in space. During the 1970s, the Soviet design bureau OKB-1 developed the first manned space stations called Salyut. As the Salyuts came to the end …

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 …