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  • Writer's pictureMatt Russell

Massive Solid Rocket

Man must at all costs overcome the Earth's gravity and have, in reserve, the space at least of the Solar System. All kinds of danger wait for him on the Earth. . . . We have said a great deal about the advantages of migration into space, but not all can be said or even imagined.

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky


Happy 98th Birthday to Sarah Lee Lippincott (born October 26, 1920),

An American astronomer. She is professor emerita of astronomy at Swarthmore College and director emerita of the college's Sproul Observatory.

She is a pioneer in the field of binary stars and search for exoplanets.


Space word of the week

Interplanetary shock: The abrupt boundary formed at the front of a plasma cloud (e.g. from a coronal mass ejection) moving much faster than the rest of the solar wind, as it pushes its way through interplanetary space.

Database of such events at













Space Mission of the week. Aerojet 260

  1. 260inch (6.6m) diameter Solid Rocket Booster (P120 is 3.4m) (Saturn V first stage 10m)

  2. 18.29m high (P120 is 11.7m) (Saturn V 42m)

  3. Monolithic (normally segmented so you can barge them around)

  4. 1,542,000 Kg of propellant!!! (P120C is only 143,600 Kg) (Saturn V 2.1M KG)

  5. LITVC Liquid-injection thrust vector control system

  6. Thrust 17,695.30 kN (4 million lbf) (P120C is just 4500kN) (Saturn V 35,100 kN)

  7. SPI 263s and 238s at sea level (P120c is 278s) (Saturn V 263)

  8. 6 tons per second?? (Saturn V 14 Tons second)


For its 5th launch of 2018, Ariane 5 lifted off from the European spaceport in Kourou to place the BepiColombo spacecraft into its Earth escape trajectory,

  • begin its seven-year voyage to the planet Mercury, via Venus.

  • This is the first time that an ECA version of the Ariane 5 launcher has reached this type of orbit; previously, an A5G+ version of Ariane 5 was used for the Rosetta Earth-escape mission in March 2004

  • For this particularly complex mission, Ariane 5 was placed it on to a transfer trajectory to Mercury, propelling it to an absolute velocity of 39,570 km/h

  • 4,140 km/h more than for the usual transfer orbit -- to geostationary position.

  • This mission benefits from the first application of the Vulcain 2 power increase (+2.25%), of the Ariane 5 ECA

  • “... this did not entail any modifications to the launcher’s structure, it did mean additional verifications, which required the work of 30 ArianeGroup engineers for two years, ” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of ArianeGroup.

Qualification tests on the Vinci® engine which will power the Ariane 6 upper stage were completed with the 148th test

Vinci is an expander cycle rocket engine fed with liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. Its biggest improvement from its predecessor, the HM7B ( which fired for the 141st consecutive nominal firing to place BepiColombo into space), is the capability of restarting 4 times (but can actually do loads more). It is also the first European expander cycle engine, removing the need for a gas generator to drive the fuel and oxidizer pumps



On 26th Feb 2011 Europe, Japan, America and Russia all had spacecraft at ISS

  1. Johannes Kepler ATV-2(Feb-June)

  2. STS-133 Discovery (feb-March) Discovery final mission

  3. Kounotori2 HTV-2 the Japanes H-ii (Jan -March)

  4. Soyuz TMA-20 (dec - may)

  5. Soyuz TMA-01m(october - March)

  6. Progress M-09M - (Jan-April)

Discovery left Europe's Leonardo module to be used as a pmm Permanent multipurpose module after flying as a MPLM-1, Multi-Purpose Logistics Modules on 7 shuttle flights.

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