was NEVER used? This was an external fuel tank also known as ET-94, (ET-94 = External Tank 94) which was never actually used because it was thought that this tank would cause other problems, just like how the so-call "twin" tank, ET-93, caused a deadly accident.
What I mean by this is that for example, astronauts and NASA space staff did not want to use this fuel tank for further exhibitions because the "twin" tank ET-93, was the cause of a huge fiery explosion of the space shuttle Colombia, in 2003, killing the seven astronauts aboard. So then afterwards, it was considered that this fuel tank didn't and never actually went up into space. Although, ET-94 WAS actually used in a flight across the canal of Panama last month in April, where it took-off and landed in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Although people might not care about this fuel tank, it IS actually a big piece of both American and space history.
Now that it has recently arrived to Los Angeles, the big question that will probably take sometime to plan out is, "How will the ET-94 make its way through the Los Angeles streets to end up in the California Science Center?"
First of all, we need to take a closer look at the humongous size of this fuel tank. This fifteen story high tank measures 154-by-27.5-feett (47 by 14.5 meters), according to Space.com. It weighs a total of 66,000 pounds! Now that is what you call MASSIVE! This tank is even bigger in size compared to the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Now that we know the size measurements of this fuel tank, we can begin to wonder how this massive piece of space history will make its way to the California Science Center.
On May 21st, the ET-94 arrived to the California Science Center, on Saturday. It made a 16 mile long journey from La Marina del Rey, all the way to Exposition Park. This massive 66,000 pound fuel tank spent more than 18 hours slowly roaming down the streets of Los Angeles. According to ktla.com, one of the residents state, "This is huge...this is a huge tank, said Muchaka Zukinta, of Bellflower. “I didn't think it was that big, but it's bigger than I thought it was.” Science Center staff members say that this rule tank will remain in the science museum for several further years, until it is linked onto the shuttle in a new facility.
right on front of us. So if you are planning to give the Science Center a quick visit, I recommend that maybe you should go while it is still in Los Angeles ,because you heard, in a couple of years, the tank AND the Endeavor will sadly not be here anymore!
1) ALL first gallery images courtesy of latimes.com. 2) ET-94 fuel tank image courtesy of collectspace.com. 3) Video courtesy of ktla.com Los Angeles News. 4) Tank route image courtesy of jpl.nasa.gov. 5)Image #1 in concluding gallery image courtesy of spaceflight101.com. 6)Image #2 in concluding gallery courtesy of jpl.nasa.gov.
(You can click here to go and read my other previous article on the plans that SpaceX was going to approach before this!)
After the four difficult tests that SpaceX has tried on their upcoming 'Reusing Rockets' project, they were epic failures. April 8, 2016 has become a HUGE milestone for the spaceflight company because they have finally nailed their Falcon 9 rocket landing after several tests. Falcon 9 landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Florida. In the previous four tests, SpaceX had their rockets land on drone ships, but not exactly where expected, causing huge fiery explosions.
As theverge.com clearly states, "It’s also the second time the company has pulled off a landing." Yes that is correct, this is the second time SpaceX has been able to make their rocket return back successfully to earth. The first rocket landing was on December 21, 2015 where SpaceX was able to land their Falcon 9 on a ground base after launching it into space. Theverge.com also strongly claimed, "It's the first time SpaceX has been able to gently touch down the Falcon 9 post-launch — something the company has been trying to do for the past year. It’s a big first step toward reusable rockets." (This was on December 21, 2015) Now, it seems that four months later, SpaceX is also able land their Falcon 9 rocket into a drone ship at sea. It is the second landing of a rocket, but the first landing at sea for SpaceX.
Although there has ALREADY been a landing on land by the space exploration company Blue Origin, what makes the landing of SpaceX 'better and accurate' is that for the majority of the times, they are using lightweight rockets, Falcon 9. Falcon 9 is 135 ft in height, and measures 12 ft in radius, according to theverge.com. Compared to Blue Origin's landing, they used their rocket called New Shepard that is nearly half the length in height compared to the Falcon 9. The Falcon 9 can travel up to 124 miles distance away from planet earth, while the New Shepard can only go up to 62 miles. Just because Blue Origin accomplished something that SpaceX was trying to do, it's not exactly the same because the Blue Origin rocket was meant to take passengers/crew members to space, while Falcon 9 is supposed to carry satellites and help boost spaceships up into space. It all depends on what you think of a rocket, according to theverge.com. Also, the New Shepard rocket vertically lands, while the Falcon 9 is in any position.
This has become history and a big milestone for SpaceX because it is somethings that will be VERY beneficial in the future. People and the social medias are making a huge deal about it because of its important . For example, SpaceX is taking this time to congratulate themselves for this long process! The videos on the tests are all over the news headline, and the tweets coming from SpaceX and the offices.
One of the main reasons why SpaceX wanted to try testing if Falcon 9 could land sea was because according to the video on theverge.com, it actually takes LESS fuel for their rockets to land at sea after it has been separated by the main spaceship, and it is a 'more direct' path back down to earth, since there is no gravity in space. This also makes it easier for the drone ships to be able to 'catch' the rocket. Now, the reasons why SpaceX would choose sea landing rather than land is because when the rocket is separated by the spaceship, it takes MORE fuel for their rockets to return, and in a curved difficult path. Also according to the video, SpaceX is expected to land one-third of their rockets on land, and the rest at sea. The main purpose why only one-third of the rockets are going to return to land is because those rockets use a heaver load, and a heavier load results of MORE fuel. We know that MORE FUEL causes a 'curved path' landing.
This also means that because of this discovery there is ALSO another benefit, the cost of the rockets used per launch. So it now seems like SpaceX will be collaborating with possible other spaceflight and space exploration companies to limit the cost of the launch per rocket. So the more SpaceX and other companies will be able to reuse their rockets, the LESS it would cost, and the MORE space explorations there will potentially be.
This big accomplishment is history for the spaceflight company due to the fact they are the first ones to complete a mission in space, and successfully land on a drone ship in the ocean. According to the article of cnet.com, they state, "SpaceX successfully launched its Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station atop the Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Friday at about 1:45 p.m. PT. The drone landing took place about 10 minutes later.The Falcon 9 reached a top speed of over 4,000 miles per hour during launch and then had to be slowed down on its return to Earth and guided to "Of Course I Still Love You," the name of the drone ship landing pad that was waiting off the coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean.'"
If you read my previous article on SpaceX, then you know how I talked about the different methods that they had in mind, when they were attempting the tests. In fact, one of them was the 'Grasshopper' mechanism. SpaceX actually used this mechanism for their final test. If you look at the video above, then you will notice how when the Falcon 9 slowly returns down to the drone ship, you will notice how on the rocket there are these 'legs' that were at the very bottom of the rocket, and that is the 'Grasshopper mechanism. '
It seems like this has become a very HUGE accomplishment for SpaceX, and will be used for several purposes later-on in the future of the Astronomy field. Not only this discovery has caused several benefits for reusing the rockets used for spaceship take-offs, but there are also some economical benefits because there will be MORE spaceflight explorations. Before, there used to be LESS spaceship launches every year, but now that I'm looking closer at it, it seems like there will be more explorations from MORE companies. It seems like in the real world, more companies and industries are trying to help protect the earth, SpaceX is trying to reuse their spaceship rockets, and more companies are trying to do more and more overtime.
Do you ever see an airplane or spaceship flying across the sky? Do you know what airplanes and spaceships use and do in order to go to space or fly across the world? When a Spaceship (in particular) takes-off, they use rockets in order to 'lift' and carry themselves into space. When the actual spaceship has reached to the earth's atmosphere, while taking-off, there is no need for the rockets anymore, so there are these explosive bolts that separate the actual rockets from the spaceship. The rockets then drop back down to earth with a parachute, into the ocean and this causes them to NOT be able to be reused again for other departures.
Recently, the spaceflight exploration company, SpaceX, has been working on their reusable rocket method from spaceship departures. Basically, how SpaceX plans to make their rockets used for lift-offs reusable is to develop a plan for when their rockets drop down back to earth, they don't fall into the ocean, instead they want their rockets to return on their launch pad vertically, or on ocean landing sites.
SpaceX has two methods and goals in mind that they will approach for their reusable rocket plans. Now, SpaceX is currently working on some flight testing, but lately there isn't some accuracy landing. As in the phase of the beginning stages, SpaceX just wants to begin with their rockets landing on their boats and ship launch pads, and in specific, land completely standing in a vertical position. It seems like there has to be accurate precision from the rockets because they had to land in a difficult position in a particular spot and location. How is SpaceX controlling where they land? How do they know WHERE they are going to land? Are they using monitors and computers to know where the rockets land and at what speed coming from the sky?
The second plan that SpaceX has in mind is to have a springing mechanism, and they call it the 'Grasshopper Reusability Test.' Basically, the point of this second method is that the rockets attached to the spaceship will have the 'Grasshopper' mechanism somewhere around the bottom surface, so since the point of the rockets is to land in a position standing up, the 'springing' mechanism will touch the flat surface. The fact that the rockets have a 'springy' mechanism makes the rockets not be pushed and forced against the ground, so it is a safer landing, and will not damage the rocket, so it would e able to be reused. It seems like this method for being able to reuse their spaceship rockets will be the closest to become a possibility.
The main purpose why SpaceX wants to reuse their rockets is because according to Elon Musk on SpaceX.com, he clear states, “If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred. A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.” It seems like what Elon Musk is trying to say is that if they are able to reuse their rockets, then they can be able to afford more spaceflight explorations. Does it seem like their rockets might be a little bit pricey? After some research, one other possible reason why SpaceX would want to be able to reuse their rockets is because according to Space.com, spaceflight companies like NASA spend at least $500 Million per rocket launch. This makes more sense now.
In conclusion, it seems like SpaceX might come down to and end result to HOW they would want to reuse their rockets that were used in spaceship take-offs. There were two methods and plans that SpaceX had in mind, and it is factual thatches spaceflight company might be doing this possibly because they don't want to spend millions and millions of dollars on their rockets launches. Also, not ONLY because of the expensive amounts, but just like how Elon Musk stated, the less the rockets are, the more opportunities and chances astronauts get to go to space explorations. Maybe the next time we see or hear about a spaceship departure, will they possibly be using SpaceX's 'Grasshopper' mechanism, will the rockets STILL have the parachutes, or will they return to their ocean and land launching pads?
1) First image of U.S.Spaceshuttle courtesy of mrmyrtuesclassroom.com. 2) Image of Specshuttle departure courtesy of en.wikipedia.org. 3) Grasshopper mechanism image courtesy of SpaceX.com. 4) Spaceshuttle releasing rockets image courtesy of buran.su.
Recently, (in an article provided by NASA) NASA is really close to exploring more from planets Pluto and Saturn, with another departure to another big planet in our solar system, Jupiter. (Click here to read more about NASA!) NASA's probe was launched in 2011, and will reach the planet of Jupiter by 2016 (this year!) It is believed for Juno to head back to earth around June 3rd.This space probe trip has been developing for the past five years in space. Actually, ever since Juno has left to discover the wonders of space, it has not only aimed towards Jupiter, but at exploring the whole Solar System itself.
[The name Juno comes from way behind to the times of the Roman civilization. In the Roman myths, Juno was the wife of Jupiter and Jupiter wanted to hide himself behind the clouds because he caused a lot of trouble, meaning no one would be able to see him behind the clouds. Juno was the ONLY one who had the ability to see through the clouds. In NASA's case, the space probe will also be located beneath the clouds and will be understanding HOW Jupiter was able to become a planet.] (Click here to read more information about the Juno space probe!)
Juno has gone at least 1.71 billion miles (2.75 million km) out into space and just needs around nearly 48 million miles before it gets to its desired location. Interestingly, Juno has broken several amazing records to become the most distant solar-powered explorer. Through out the space probe's journey, it has outstandingly been fueled by pure solar energy due to how it is really close to the sun. Juno has consumed nearly 1.3 pounds of fuel during the burn and because of this fuel, it has increased the space probe's speed by 1 foot per second. It is amazing what NASA is trying to do with the largest planet in our Solar System!