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Rockets & Space Vehicles

Rocket Science!

        For those who know nothing about rockets or how they work. here is a good starting point. Chris Bishop does an amazing job in this video at explaining a great amount of important information that is used on a daily basis in rocket science. He goes through such basic information in a very beginner-friendly manner so that you can get the most out of his presentation. His video is almost an hour long, so it would be a perfect video to watch on the weekends whenever you are lacking activities to do. Or you're all caught up on your promotions. 


Rocket Engines

Basic Rocket Propulsion

        If you are interested in how launch vehicles work and want to know more about how we harness enough power to send several tons of equipment into space in one go, then this channel is perfect for you. Olaf Willocx (Yes, that is how his name is spelled) does a great job explaining the various types of rocket propulsion, how nozzles work, and many other topics pertaining to the basic functions of rockets. If you don't know much about rockets, I suggest you watch Olaf Willocx's videos. 

Olaf Willocx YouTube channel: Olaf Willocx

Soviet Rocket Engines

        For those of you who are aerospace geeks such as myself, then this video is the perfect video for you! It's a full 1:34:00 video that explains every Soviet rocket engine, its origin, and its use. It is a great video to binge-watch on the weekends in order to become an expert with Soviet rocket engines. For those of you who want knowledge that is an inch wide and a mile deep. This is the best in-depth video we could find for you to watch.

How to Start a Rocket Engine

        Unfortunately, starting a rocket engine isn't as simple as starting a car or a plane engine. It takes tremendous precision and unprecedented reliability. And contrary to most beliefs, sparks are seldom used to start engines. There are a plethora of unique and very different ways that rocket engines are started depending on their use, type, or size. Find out how a rocket engine is started by checking out this video. 


Spacecraft Directional Control


        Wondering how rockets guide themselves? Here is a video that uses the V2 ballistic missile as an example to explain this concept.

Types of Directional Control Systems

If the gyroscope tells the rocket where to go, what part of the rocket is changing the direction? There are four methods for changing the direction of a rocket. All of which you can see in the picture below. Current-day rockets typically use Gimbaled thrust or Vernier control systems. But most rockets before 1950 used thrust vanes and movable fins. 

Rocket Control

Image courtesy of NASA

Space Hardware

        We all have heard of the wonderful achievements made beyond our planet. Events such as orbiting the Earth, building a space station, and landing on the surface of the moon! But it takes a vast amount of technological development to make these achievements. And for those who are interested in the hardware that has permitted space travel, this is a great website for you. Although this website mostly just explains the hardware that went into rockets of the space race. It is a great foundation for understanding and appreciating the hardware used in rockets nowadays. 


How to Get to The Moon

        All of the videos below are made by Jared Owen. A YouTuber who makes 3D animations that explain how things work. This video does a great job of explaining how the Saturn V rocket made it to the moon. Because believe it or not, it is not just a straight shot to the moon and back. Best of all, he explains complex topics in a very very easy-to-understand way that even an elementary schooler could understand. 

Apollo Part 1

This video explains the stages of the Saturn V rocket. As well as the steps it takes to get into orbit with the moon. 

Apollo Part 2

This video explains the part of each Apollo mission where the astronauts land on, walk on and leave the moon. 

Apollo Part 3

This is the final video in Jared Owen's Apollo series. It explains the steps that the Apollo spacecraft takes to get back to Earth.


How Do Rockets Work?

        For those of you who want deep technical information on the origin of rockets and how they work, please visit this site. It has tons of hyperlinks to all sorts of information about rockets. It's a great way to spend a weekend where you have nothing else to do. And you certainly will impress your friends after you have explored this website. 

How Do Rockets Work? 

Rocket - Chemical Propellants, Solid Motors, Liquid Engines, and Cases |  Britannica

Image courtesy of Encyclopedia Britannica

Orbital Mechanics

        Ah yes, orbital mechanics. A very complicated and intimidating subject to an outsider's eye. But I assure you, as long as you aren't interested in the nitty-gritty math behind every aspect of an orbit, and you just want a basic knowledge and understanding of it then it is by far the easiest topic to learn on this website. As you can see in this picture, games are the best way of understanding how orbits work, change, and occur in a practical sense. The two games I suggest that you play are listed below. These are very educational as well as accurate (even though the measurements are scaled down i.e. everything is smaller). 

  • Space Flight Simulator (Mobile and free) 

  • Kerbal Space Program (Very detailed and accurate, PC, costs $39.99). r/KerbalSpaceProgram - this describes me quite well, i didn't understand orbital mechanics until i played ksp

Image courtesy of Reddit

Ion Engines

        We've all seen them in Star Wars, but did you know that they are real? Although ion engines today aren't nearly as sophisticated as what's seen in Star Wars or Star Trek, they are used on spacecraft today. Their primary use is to give a constant but very small flow of thrust to an interstellar satellite. They make what is known as ionic wind. This thrust can be sustained for a very, very long time. Now, scientists are considering using it as a propulsion method in aircraft. See these videos to learn more about it. 

NASA Publications

        Herein stand most of the chronologies that NASA has officially produced about its programs. The story of wind tunnels, of sounding rockets off the Cape, of monkeys sent into space. No one human can comprehend it all, but all of it is exceptionally cool. If you take the time to read just a bit of any of these - particularly from the Project Histories, SP-4200 series - you'll realize the magnitude of the effort, the depth, and the detail, that it took to send humans beyond our frail atmosphere. 

I particularly suggest this one. SP-4203: "On the Shoulders of Titans." 



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