Rockets and Launch Vehicles

As I looked at the title of the upcoming ATI course called Rockets and Launch Vehicles, the first question I asked myself was “What is the difference between a rocket and a launch vehicle?  With the help of google, I learned that all launch vehicles are rockets, but not all rockets are launch vehicles.  A […]

As I looked at the title of the upcoming ATI course called Rockets and Launch Vehicles, the first question I asked myself was “What is the difference between a rocket and a launch vehicle?  With the help of google, I learned that all launch vehicles are rockets, but not all rockets are launch vehicles.  A rocket that is powerful enough to send people, satellites, or spacecrafts into space is called a Launch Vehicle.  So, those things you would build and shoot into the sky as a kid are rockets, but they are not launch vehicles.

Rockets, including launch vehicles, take off by burning fuel, which produces a gas byproduct.  That escaping gas produces the force that creates the thrust to power the rocket upward.

Most launch vehicles need multiple stages to produce enough thrust get a spacecraft into space.  These stages usually sit on top of each other, but there also some designs which have the stages parallel to each other; it all depends on the goals of the mission.  The first stage, the stage closest to the ground, is usually the largest.  Its purpose is to lift the spacecraft above the earth’s atmosphere to a height of about 150,000 feet.  The purpose of the second stage, the stage closest to the spacecraft, is to get the spacecraft to achieve orbital velocity.  Usually, when a stage has used up all of its fuel, it serves no additional purpose, so it is jettisoned.

The Space Launch System is a launch vehicle getting a lot of attention and a lot of funding today,  The SLS is the Launch Vehicle which will be used for the NASA Artemis missions which will first return to the moon, and then explore beyond.  The mission of the first Artemis flight, Artemis I, will be to test the SLS launch vehicle using an uncrewed Orion Spacecraft.  This launch will be occurring in March 2022.

If you would like to learn more about rockets and launch vehicles, consider taking the upcoming ATI course Rockets and Launch Vehicles.  You can read more about this course, and register for it here.

And, as always, you learn about other upcoming ATI courses at the ATI homepage www.aticourses.com

NASA awards $269.3 million to accelerate human spaceflight capability

NASA announced that it awarded $269,3 million to the following companies in order to accelerate human spaceflight capability and commercial crew transportation.  The companies were selected for the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2). Blue Origin is a privately-funded aerospace company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company was awarded $3.7 million in funding […]
NASA announced that it awarded $269,3 million to the following companies in order to accelerate human spaceflight capability and commercial crew transportation.  The companies were selected for the second round of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev2). Blue Origin is a privately-funded aerospace company set up by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos. The company was awarded $3.7 million in funding in 2009 by NASA via a Space Act Agreement under the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program for development of concepts and technologies to support future human spaceflight operations. The company’s innovative ‘pusher’ Launch Abort System (LAS) was one of the technologies that was of particular interest to NASA. To date abort systems have been of the tractor variety, which pulls a crew vehicle to safety in case of an emergency. Initially focused on sub-orbital spaceflight, the company has built and flown a testbed of its New Shepard spacecraft design at their Culberson County, Texas facility. According to company statements, it initially planned on placing the New Shepard in commercial suborbital tourist service in 2010 with flights about once a week. However, the most recently publicized timetable states that Blue Origin will fly unmanned in 2011, and manned in 2012.   Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is an electronic systems provider and systems integrator specializing in microsatellites, energy, telemedicine, nanotechnology, and commercial orbital transportation services. The company contracts with the US military, NASA and private spaceflight companies. The company is headquartered in Sparks, Nevada. SNC employs over 2000 people. SNC has six different business areas, and 35 locations in 16 states along with numerous customer support sites located throughout the world. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) is an American space transport company founded by PayPal co-founder Elon Musk. It has developed the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, both of which are built with a goal of being reusable launch vehicles. SpaceX is also developing the Dragon spacecraft to be carried to orbit by Falcon 9 launch vehicles. SpaceX designs, tests and fabricates the majority of their components in-house, including the Merlin, Kestrel, and Draco rocket engines. In December 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft (a Dragon). Originally based in El Segundo, SpaceX now operates out of Hawthorne, California, USA.   The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois[2] since 2001. Boeing is made up of multiple business units, which are Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA); Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS); Engineering, Operations & Technology; Boeing Capital; and Boeing Shared Services Group.        
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