Sunday, October 07, 2007

50 Years In Space

On October 4th 1957, Sputnik 1 was launched into Space and made history.

A journey that began in May 27th 1954 and the rest is history.

Amongst the greatest Pioneers in Rocketry was an American Robert Hutchings Goddard 1882-1945.

The development of liquid-propellant rockets began during the decade from 1920 to 1930. The first successful liquid-propellant rocket, built by Goddard, was launched in 1926 near Auburn.

Although most of the scientists who pioneered in the field of liquid-propellant rockets used gasoline as a propellant

Amongst the greatest Pioneers in Rocketry was a Russian Konstantin Eduuardovitch Tsiolkovsky 1857-1935

One of the propellant combinations that Tsiolkovsky favored, used commonly today in launch vehicles, was liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen because it produces a particularly high exhaust velocity. This factor, the rocket equation reveals, helps determine the maximum speed that a spacecraft of given mass can reach. There was the problem of converting hydrogen, especially, into liquid; yet, to begin with, Tsiolkovsky brushed this aside. He did note, however, that: “The hydrogen may be replaced by a liquid or condensed hydrocarbon; for example, acetylene or petroleum.”

His rocket equation led him to another important realization:
If a single-stage rocket is to attain cosmic velocity it must carry an immense store of fuel. Thus, to reach the first cosmic velocity [his term for the speed needed to enter Earth orbit], 8 km/s, the weight of fuel must exceed that of the whole rocket (payload included) by at least four times... The stage principle, on the other hand, enables us either to obtain high cosmic velocities, or to employ comparatively small amounts of propellant components.
The concept of the multistage rocket had been known to firework-makers for at least two centuries. But Tsiolkovsky was the first to analyze it in depth, and he concluded that it was the only feasible way of enabling a spacecraft to escape from the Earth’s gravity.

Amongst the greatest Pioneers in Rocketry was a German Wernher Von Braun 1912 - 1977

Von Braun selected nitric acid/hydrazine propellants, perhaps as a result of the same Peenemuende research that influenced the French team. Von Braun made significant advances in refining Rocket Design over the years.

All these great pioneers laid foundation of the History of Rocket Science.

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