Introduction to Professional Engineering
The Mechanics of Space
Piotr Jan Czerwinski
Engineering Year 1
November 8th, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.0 Abstract. 3
2.0 The Mechanics of Space …4
2.1 The Mechanics of Space: Introduction .4
2.2 The Mechanics of Space: Main Body4
2.3 The Mechanics of Space: Conclusion7
3.0 Work Cited.8
Aeronautics has allowed mankind to understand the concept and surrounding of the universe. From ancient times, there have been discoveries made by Egyptians, Incas and many others who have used different tools to discover consolations and planet, which often symbolized gods. Trips were not made into space until the twentieth century, but as soon as they started, there was an explosion of discoveries. First man observed the moon through space stations, and then soon afterwards landed. Then it was Mars, but man is yet to land on the surface. NASA is known as one of the fathers of space. The organization has developed shuttles, space stations and many other apparatuses. NASA continues to provide research data and plans of upcoming missions. Though lots of calculations can be made for missions to be complete, humans are still unable to explore the wonders beyond the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Mechanics of Space
Galaxies, black holes, stars, and planets all relate to one another. These enormous elements belong to what man has come to call space. Space discoveries are made everyday. Whether they’re large or small, it is still newly discovered knowledge for mankind. Mechanics, more specifically Astronautical Engineering has made discoveries more valid and lets scientists calculate specific quantities of data acquired. Aeronautics has allowed the human race to get to where it is today and further use of knowledge in this field allows future discoveries to be made.
Space has always boggled the mind of many scientists for thousands of years. Many different instruments have been used to observe the skies above us and the natural phenomena’s that occur on rare occasions. Different tools have been used to calculate and analyze numerous aspects of space, and in conjunction with these tools numerous calculations and equations have been developed to support these different apparatuses.
The Egyptians used triangles for calculations; the Inca’s used the mirrors to become more familiar with the gods or the sky.
The past years gave different civilizations a way to communicate with different gods; using the stars as a way to communicate. However, as the years went by and we entered the 20th century, space exploration had become the main focus and analyzing different data from numerous planets such as Mars and the Moon.
NASA is one of the first pioneers to become interested in space exploration and put plans into motion. Firstly numerous satellites were launched into space to try and see if communication could be made from far distances. Then as time progressed and technology was improved with the way satellites were made and the way transmissions of signals were done, new ideas surfaced.
NASA came up with the idea of launching a space station. They proclaimed that establishing a permanently manned space station would be beneficial to any future launch missions (the Moon) and recovery phases of expansion missions Modular launch systems would be assembled easily at the station to make space performance more efficient. Returning space missions at the space station would provide analysis of certain data to be done at zero-gravity 1.
After the space station was launched and in full swing, plans were finally in gear to launch missions to numerous planets, starting with the Moon in the late 1960’s, after many successful, and some futile, plans were made to visit other planets. The most prominent was Mars, in which probes were sent to analyze the surroundings of the planet. In spite of this, there still have not been any missions to send a shuttle with astronauts.
There still needs to be numerous of calculations that need to be made in order for this to be accomplished in the nearby future. There are calculations that can be made using set formulas, however further data analysis has to be made on Mars in order to substitute the variables needed into different formulas to produce the results that are needed for safe and productive exploration 2.
Though lots of successful missions have been accomplished over the past years, lots of improvement can still be made. Costs of missions are definitely holding back scientists from pursuing further research and exploration of our galaxy. The main problems in missions is the amount of fuel needed (cost and distance of travel come into play), the cost of making feather weight apparatuses and providing enough oxygen to a crew to last for a distinct amount of time 3.
Propulsion technology has developed over the years and has helped out in space discoveries by decreasing the cost of missions; mainly the cost of fuel and the distance shuttles can travel. Propulsion means to push forward or drive an object forward. Systems include propellers, turbines, ramjet and rockets. Rockets have been the foundation of space travel and more efficient structures have developed to increase speed, decrease cost and expand the horizon of the universe. The capabilities of rockets can be calculated using different thrust equations to see if a certain model will be more efficient.
As mentioned earlier, there are also emergency or back up propulsions that can be used such as propellers in case there are problems with fuel or damaged sections of the ships from meteoroid showers or other space occurrences. 4
Space enthusiasts, mainly scientists and laboratory technicians would like to send probes beyond the Milky Way Galaxy and explore the outside universe and observe the different galaxies that surround. In spite of this, the technology and capabilities that the humanity has achieved thus far is not enough. The time for a vessel to travel such a distance would take far too long 5. There would not be enough fuel and radio contact would be lost before the end of the galaxy could be reached. Also, there would be no chance of send a human that far, for simple reasons; costs, time, fuel and dangers. Though scientists believe that with time, development in technology will strengthen abilities of travel and eventually let us explore the outer regions of our galaxy 6.
NASA, as mentioned previously, is the largest contributor towards space exploration and therefore is the major contributor towards presenting new facts. NASA receives billions of dollars annually to conduct space investigations and explore new ways of travel. Plans for launching probes to go around the galaxy are being made and initiated on a continuous basis. Scientists working for NASA continue using complicated mechanical calculations to figure out if a mission will be triumphant. The organization will continue with projects and aims to further its discoveries to new highs in the near future 7.
Mechanics will further become useful to every scientist that explores the “unknowns” of the universe. Technological advances in numerous fields in the years to come will certainly strengthen conclusions for data gathered. Astronautical engineering will become ever more useful as flying cars and talks of living on Mars come into play. The fact is that mankind will become more dependent in the knowledge of this field and will make use of it to better suit future generations. Mechanics will prosper for years to come and become inevitably crucial for centuries ahead.
1 Clarke Newlon, 1001 Questions Answered About Space. Cornwall: The Cornwall Press, 1971.
2 Heinz Herman Koelle, Handbook of Astronautical Engineering. New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1961.
3 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Space Plans and Scenarios to
2000 and beyond. New Jersey; Noyes Publications, 1986.
4 Beginner’s Guide to Propulsion, March 4 2004,
5 Chemical Propulsion Information Agency, 2004. The Johns Hopkins University
6 Harry O. Ruppe, Introduction to Astronautics, Volume 1. London, Academic Press
7 National Aeronautics and Space Explorations, “Aeronautics”, 2004. http://www.nasa.gov/about/highlights/index.html