Saturday, May 8, 2010
Jesse is the next generation rocket scientist in the family. Here are some comments he recently sent about his work:
Here is a demonstration of part of the rocket system I've been working on for the past 3+ years. There's a video and link to pictures of this week's successful launch (at White Sands Missile Range, NM) if you scroll down:
This abort rocket helps the NASA crew to escape if there is an anomaly with the launch rocket, either on the pad (as shown here) or during ascent to orbit. My main areas of emphasis are vortex aerodynamics, hot 50,000 pound rocket plume flows, multi-body separation dynamics, 10,000 pound jettison thrusters, and parachute aerodynamics between 29 sec (on the video) and 34 sec, although I also worked on ascent aeroheating, wake modeling for descent under parachutes, wind tunnel testing, etc ...
This is a huge relief that everything worked so flawlessly! Pre-flight animation is available:
There is a very interesting video of the various technologies ... most amazing is the Abort Control Motor (ACM), which has the unprecedented capability of controlling a vehicle using solid rocket motors that throttle to vary the thrust vector (watch video from 4:13 to 4:38):
You probably wouldn't want to ride this vehicle, since the astronauts are subjected to 17g (17 times gravity) ... they go straight up more than a mile in about 10 seconds.