Thursday, April 11, 2013

Alex Bruccoleri - Selected Physics Concepts for Rocketeers

Alex Bruccoleri is a PH D candidate at MIT. 

Alex worked through some of the math for what speed we need to get to about a 100 km orbit.  The first draft result is about 7.8 km/s, but factoring in air drag and other issues make the real number about 10 km/sec.

"The only proven way to safely accelerate an object to 10 km/s is through rockets!" 

Rockets come in two flavors:

1) Chemical - muzzle accelerates gas via pressue forces

2) Electric - gas is ionized and electrical forces used for acceleration - the problem is the power source takes weight.

He went through some math.

Summary: "Rockets are hard.  We need chemical propulsion for high thrust.  We want high temperatures and pressures for high exhaust velocity.  We are limited to less than 5km/s.  This means we have a limited mass for payloads, structures etc. to reach orbit."

The full agenda for Space Access 2013 agenda.

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